The following article is portion of an article from the Tribune Washington Bureau. Click the link at the bottom of this page to be linked to the full version
by Neela Banerjee
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is considering a move that could delay a decision on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline by requiring sponsors to reduce the project’s environmental risks before it can be approved, according to people with knowledge of the deliberations.
The step might put off a decision until after the 2012 election and be a way for the White House to at least temporarily avoid antagonizing either the unions that support the pipeline or the environmental activists who oppose it as President Barack Obama gears up for his campaign.
The 1,700-mile Keystone XL, which would run from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast, needs a permit from the State Department because it crosses a national border. The administration has said the State Department probably would decide on the so-called presidential permit by the end of the year.
Until recently, the pipeline seemed to be heading for a green light. Its union supporters tout the jobs it would create. And administration officials say the oil that would flow south from Canada’s oil sands — viscous petroleum trapped in clay and soil — would improve energy security.
But the plan has become a major issue for environmental groups, which object to running a giant pipeline above an aquifer that holds water used by large parts of the Plains states. They also say producing crude from oil sands would generate huge amounts of the gases believed to cause global warming. Environmental activists have threatened to withhold campaign donations and stop volunteering for Obama’s re-election effort.
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Source: Tribune Washington Bureau
Posted by Haylie Shipp