United States

White House delays Keystone XL decision, possibly until after 2012 election

The White House has delayed a decision over the controversial Keystone XL, saying that more time is needed to study the environmental impact of various proposed routes. The news means a final ruling on the pipeline’s route is now unlikely to come before the 2012 presidential election.

The Keystone XL case is a classic example of ‘not in my back yard’ syndrome. Most experts accept that the US needs the pipeline, which will run from Canada to Texas. But few people seem to want to have it running near their homes.

The 1,700 mile, $7bn pipeline would pass through five US states on its way to Texas, where it would meet refineries on the Lone Star State’s coast. One of the most controversial parts of the pipeline’s route takes it close to the Nebraska Sandhills region and Ogallala aquifer, which supply water to eight states. Despite assurances that the pipeline will be completely safe, some activists are determined to avoid it being set up anywhere near their own homes.

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