TransCanada Corp. applied more than five years ago for a federal permit to build the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline across the U.S. in order to link Canada’s tar sands in Alberta with refineries along the coast of Texas and Louisiana.
President Barack Obama has continued to delay any decision, claiming that he must first determine whether or not the project would negatively impact on the environment.
On Jan. 31, the U.S. State Department released the results of another study that has shown that the overall environmental impact of the Keystone pipeline would be minimal, removing one major hurdle for TransCanada and meaning that only one more remains.
President Obama had always stated that he would not grant a permit if the project would have a negative effect on climate change, yet this recent study has concluded that the oil sands would be developed regardless of the fate of the pipeline. Now the only thing that must be determined is whether or not it is in the national interests of the United States, and that means weighing up factors such as the country’s energy needs and diplomatic relations with Canada.