In-depth: Future of industry, health of planet at stake in Keystone XL pipeline debate

A protester at a February rally in Washington, D.C.

The upcoming decision from President Barack Obama on the future of the Keystone XL pipeline is a momentous decision for the future of an industry, the environment and the nation’s economy.

Obama will soon decide whether to give permission to Keystone to construct a pipeline to transport oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast. The oil, extracted from the tar sands of Alberta, must be transported to oil refineries in Texas.

Tar sands oil is rich in carbon and highly polluted, making it some of the “dirtiest” oil in North America. Environmentalists object to the pipeline because its construction would indicate a greater reliance on fossil fuels and would result in greater air pollution and the possibility of spills or leaks.

On the other hand, supporters of the pipeline argue that its construction will lessen U.S. reliance on foreign oil. They also say the construction will create jobs across the pipeline’s path. And the Canadian tar sands industry represents an area of heavy investment for some Americans.

See the story at The Nation.


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