by Daniel Kitts Thursday January 19, 2012

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is apparently devastated. Why?  Because, on January 18, it was announced that U.S. President Barack Obama was rejecting TransCanada Corp's application to build a $7 billion pipeline to transport approximately 800,000 barrels a day of unprocessed Alberta oil to refineries in Texas.

Harper, along with the oil industry and many other U.S. and Canadian politicians, sees the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline as a huge economic boon to companies and workers on both sides of the border.

Environmentalists, however, are celebrating. They see Keystone XL as an environmental risk to the communities through which it would run. They also see the pipeline as making it that much harder to get North America to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, since it would pump a steady supply of raw hydrocarbons from Canada to be turned into petroleum and other fossil fuels in the southern U.S.

But the battle isn't over yet: the Obama Administration is making clear that TransCanada can re-apply for a permit to build the pipeline once they figure out a route that would bypass the ecologically sensitive Sand Hills area in Nebraska. And TransCanada has already announced that they remain committed to the project despite this latest setback.

The Agenda explored the pros and cons of the Keystone XL Pipeline, and the politics surrounding the debate, last October. You can watch that program in the video player above.

And for more on "pipeline politics," check out Steve Paikin's recent blog post, "Joe Oliver and The Sundance Kid."

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Photo credit: TransCanada Corporation