The proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada has cleared a significant hurdle after the State Department raised no major environmental objections to its construction.
The department's report was released Friday. It says Canadian tar sands are likely to be developed regardless of U.S. action on the pipeline and other options to get the oil from western Canada to Texas Gulf Coast refineries are worse for the environment.
The latest environmental review stops short of recommending approval of the project.
But the report gives the Obama administration political cover if it chooses to endorse the pipeline in spite of opposition from many Democrats and environmental groups.
State Department approval of the project is needed because it crosses a U.S. border. A decision is not expected before the summer.
After the report was released by the State Department, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin renewed her call to the Obama Administration to stop dragging its heels and immediately approve the construction.
The Keystone XL pipeline connects oil reserves in Canada to markets throughout the U.S., ending in the Gulf Coast. The pipeline runs through Cushing, Okla.
"The Keystone pipeline project is important to our nation's energy security as well as the individual economies of our states," Fallin said. "In Oklahoma alone, the pipeline represents a billion dollar investment with the potential to create thousands of jobs. We've waited long enough for this to be approved. It's time for President Obama to let common sense prevail and give American workers the green light on this shovel-ready project."
The southern leg of the 387-mile Keystone XL pipeline, is already shipping oil from Cushing to Houston-area refineries.