[QODLink]
Americas
Obama faces backlash over pipeline decision
Approval or scrapping of controversial Keystone pipeline set to alienate US president's supporters.
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2012 05:27

Barack Obama, the US president, is facing a difficult political decision over approval for a controversial oil pipeline

If constructed, the 2,700km Keystone pipeline would carry oil from the Canadian province of Alberta all the way to the US state of Texas, and create thousands of jobs in a currently stagnant economy.

Hundreds of people protested against the pipeline last summer, arguing that similar projects have hurt fragile ecosystems, water quality, and rural farms in the US.

Under pressure from opponents, the Obama administration in November said it needed 12 to 18 months to study the environmental impacts of the project, saying it would put off approving the pipeline until after the 2012 presidential elections.

But, Congressional Republicans argued the White House was just stonewalling because of the political ramifications.

Approving the pipeline will alienate environmental groups, a major part of the president’s support base. Rejecting the project will push away labour groups, who are also big Obama backers.

So, the Republicans have forced the president's hand.

As part of the payroll tax cut legislation Obama was eager to pass in December, Conservatives tucked in a provision requiring a decision on the pipeline by the end of next month.

The American Petroleum Institute, which has more than 400 industry members, is the latest group to warn of political consequences if the pipeline is not approved.

Al Jazeera's Kimberly Halkett reports from Washington.

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
About 500,000 participated around the globe in the Peoples Climate March, and Al Jazeera spoke to some in New York.
Separatist movements in Spain, Belgium and Italy may face headwinds following Scotland's decision to stay in the UK.
A fishing trawler carrying 500 migrants across the Mediterranean was rammed by another boat, causing hundreds to drown.
Anti-immigration Sweden Democrats party - with roots in the neo-Nazi movement - recently won 12.9 percent of the vote.
Palestinian doctor who lost three daughters in previous Gaza war is fighting to bring 100 wounded kids to Canada.