Last week Governor Dave Heineman of Nebraska approved the Keystone XL pipeline along a revised route, “which avoids the environmentally-sensitive Sand Hills region of Nebraska.” The final decision now rests in the hands of President Obama, who last year rejected the previous route on grounds that construction of the pipeline and the possibility of a spill could contaminate the Ogallala Aquifer in the Sand Hills region.
For many environmentalists and opponents of the Keystone XL project, however, this revised route doesn’t address the bigger climate argument: Due to the high level of greenhouse gasses emitted during production of oil from oil sands, relative to conventional oil, construction of the pipeline would be “game over for the planet.”
President Obama has many people wondering whether his Inaugural Address, in which he reaffirmed a commitment to fighting climate change, may foreshadow his decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. However, the State Department has further delayed a final decision until after March.
In light of the revised pipeline route, should the Keystone XL project be approved? Is there anything missing from the dialogue surrounding the Keystone XL pipeline?