The U.S. state of Nebraska and Trans-Canada Corporation have agreed to change the route of the Keystone XL pipeline. The existing plan would take the pipeline over the Ogalala aquifer. The aquifer provides water for millions in the area and there are concerns that a leak could cause environmental disaster.
The pipeline would deliver up to 700,000 barrels per day to refineries in Texas. Many support the pipeline project because of the jobs that would be created including a number of unions. However environmentalists are concerned not just about the environmental dangers of the route but many also are concerned that production from the Tar Sands is dirty oil in the sense that the production processes adds considerable greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Aboriginal groups in the areas of production also have environmental concerns.
Just last week, the U.S. State Department decided to delay the decision on the Keystone XL project until early in 2013. The final decision will come after the 2012 elections. Environmentalists still expect that there will be a complete environmental assessment of any new route. The Canadian Federal Government and the Alberta provincial government were both disappointed at the delay. The Alberta premier has gone to Washington to lobby for the project.
The Canadian Federal Government is already making moves to search out other markets for oil, especially in China. The delay will no doubt increase attempts to obtain approval for a pipeline from Alberta to a port in British Columbia where oil would be shipped by freighter to Asian markets. For more see this article.