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A Decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline Could Define Obama's Green Agenda

Jan 23, 2013
(BBC News)

Even before he was sworn in for a second term President Obama's in-tray has been bulging with letters about climate and energy issues.

The big, looming problem that encompasses both areas is the Keystone XL pipeline.

This $7bn, 1,700 mile trans-national project is meant to bring oil from the tar sands of Alberta to the refineries of Texas. Backed by industry but opposed by environmentalists it has become hugely divisive, with protestors taking to the streets outside the White House.

A year ago, President Obama kicked the issue into the long grass. Writing at the time, my former colleague Richard Black analysed the background to the decision.

But the long grass has now wilted and the President will shortly have to give a final yea or nay.

In a recent letter to the President, 18 well known climate scientists urged him to reject the pipeline on the grounds that it increases US reliance on fossil fuels.