The Keystone XL Pipeline, the proposed $7 billion pipeline to run almost 2,000 miles to connect Canada’s oil sands to refineries around the Gulf of Mexico and Houston, have been created to deal with the heavy crude that the oil sands produce.
If built, the XL would be the longest oil pipeline outside of China and Russia, and has become a strong symbol in a growing argument that pits the environmental risk against the energy security. It would be designed to transport over half a million barrels every day.
The pipline proposal required that President Obama had to approve it due to the fact that it will be crossing an international border. Opposition from officials and environmentalists along sections of the pipeline route, together with a Republican measure, made President Obama decide earlier than he had planned, whether to allow it. This led to a temporary rejection of the proposed project.
However, on Wednesday over 50% of the Senate urged fast approval of the pipeline, increasing the pressure on the president to move the project ahead days after Obama promised during his Inaugural Address to take vigorous action against climate change.
A letter signed by 9 Democrats and 44 Republicans said the approval by Dave Heineman, Nebraska’s governor, of a re-vised route through Oklahoma put the long-delayed project into the palm of the president’s hands.
The letter, initiated by Senators Max Bancus, Democrat of Montanna and John Hoeven, Republican of North Dakota said, “There is no reason to deny or further delay this long-studied project.”