WASHINGTON (AP) – Supporters and opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to Texas are each finding some reason for optimism in President Barack Obama’s comments today about the standard that should be applied in approving or rejecting the project.
Obama, in a speech at Georgetown University, said the pipeline should only be approved if it doesn’t worsen carbon pollution.
A State Department report on the pipeline earlier this year acknowledged that development of tar sands in Canada would create greenhouse gases. But it also made clear that other methods of transporting the oil would also pose a risk to the environment.
A top aide to House Speaker John Boehner, a supporter of the pipeline, says Obama’s comments today indicated that the project should be approved. The spokesman said the State Department review showed that the project “would not have a significant environmental impact.”
But environmentalists also took heart in Obama’s remarks — noting that it was the first time the administration had directly linked approval of the pipeline to its effect on pollution. Daniel Weiss of the Center for American Progress says it’s the first time Obama has set a “do-no-climate-harm standard” for approval of the pipeline. He says it will be a “difficult standard to meet.”
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