The long-awaited State Department report found that the keystone xl pipeline would not have a “significant” effect on greenhouse gas emissions. Its assessment goes something like this: If Keystone XL doesn’t get built, the oil extracted from Canada’s tar sands will still be transported somehow — likely by rail — and have the same environmental effect. That leaves President Obama with an unenviable case to make to his liberal base if he chooses to support the pipeline and an equally difficult decision to defend— particularly with the labor unions that support it — if he opposes a project Republicans have made key to their jobs-and-energy argument.
Secretary of State John Kerry will make a final recommendation to Obama, who has 90 days to decide. The question is how long the president will wait — and what effect it will have on November’s midterm elections.