The Nebraska Supreme Court has ruled on the Keystone XL Pipeline project striking down the district court ruling and clearing the way for the State Department to move forward on the project. Because the proposed pipeline would cross the U.S.-Canadian border, the State Department must rule that the project is in the United States’ national interest and grant a permit. http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-nebraska-keystone-pipeline-20150109-story.html#page=1
While there is no single narrative on the Keystone XL project, the most simplified version goes something like this: environmentalists oppose the pipeline for the added carbon emissions due to refinement and the risk of pipeline spills contaminating the Ogallala Aquifer. Supporters are in favor of the XL project because it creates jobs and will bring billions of dollars into the local and US economies.
The State Department must now consider the national interest at a time when crude oil prices are six year low and will likely continue to be depressed. As OPEC continues to combat the US fracking industry in a price war the short term pay off for a project such as the XL pipeline may be almost negligible. By the same token, a large suppl of low priced crude oil will not continue indefinitely. Look for the permit to be granted putting the project squarely in front of the GOP and the White House.