Obama’s decision on the Keystone XL pipeline

By Doug Ruley, Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic and Associate Professor of Law and Will Kirk, JD ’15 and Staff Editor, Vermont Journal of Environmental Law

President Obama’s awaited decision on the Keystone XL pipeline has become a proxy for the larger debate on climate change. Will Obama allow the pipeline to go forward?

Keystone1In 2014, President Obama will decide whether to block or allow the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would increase the transportation of oil from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries. The pending decision symbolizes a fundamental choice for the United States and the world regarding a reduced-carbon future.

The proposed Keystone XL would transport bituminous (“tar sand”) oil from Alberta, Canada to Steele City, Nebraska, and then to Texas, thereby connecting the Canadian tar sands region to refineries and ports on the Gulf Coast.