Rena Schild /

The State Department has provided President Obama the cover he needs to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, dealing a severe blow to environmentalists who oppose the oil and gas project.

As The Verge reports, the Department concluded that the pipeline, which would pump an estimated 830,000 barrels of crude oil from Canada to the U.S. heartland every day, is “unlikely to significantly affect the rate of extraction in oil sands areas.”

That directly contradicts the findings of the Natural Resources Defense Council, which said in a statement in October, “Keystone XL would lead to a dramatic increase in the carbon pollution that worsens the effects of climate change.”

Obama was pressured by his environmentalist supporters to delay the pipeline’s approval, and Republicans have used that fact to challenge the president’s rhetoric on job creation. Keystone would undoubtedly generate revenue and work by virtue of its construction, alone, just as it would undoubtedly generate pollution through the import of dirty energy. Frankly, it’s difficult to take the State Department seriously on this one, although there’s a very serious-looking PDF to back its claims.

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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