The pipeline has apparently* passed a significant environmental review by the U.S. State Department, so it’s presumably a step closer to being approved. From The New York Times:
The long-awaited environmental impact statement on the project concludes that approval or denial of the pipeline, which would carry 830,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta to the Gulf Coast, is unlikely to prompt oil companies to change the rate of their extraction of carbon-heavy tar sands oil, a State Department official said. Either way, the tar sands oil, which produces significantly more planet-warming carbon pollution than standard methods of drilling, is coming out of the ground, the report says.
In his second term, Mr. Obama has sought to make his fight against climate change a cornerstone of his legacy. In a major speech on the environment last summer, Mr. Obama said that he would approve the pipeline only if it would not “significantly exacerbate” the problem of carbon pollution. He said the pipeline’s net effects on the climate would be “absolutely critical” to his decision.
The conclusions of the report appear to indicate that the project has passed Mr. Obama’s climate criteria, an outcome expected to outrage environmentalists, who have rallied, protested, marched and been arrested in demonstrations around the country against the pipeline.
The Keystone XL, a mundane pipeline project that escalated into a bitter proxy war over climate change and North America’s energy future, moved one important step closer to reality on Friday.
And on CBC’s website:
Project opponents made it abundantly clear that they wouldn’t be deterred. “In addition to the fact that [the report authors] ignored the science, interagency criticism, basic economics of the industry and TransCanada’s own recent admission that the pipeline is the key to opening up the tarsands, the fact that a foreign oil company and foreign government were given critical intelligence ahead of everyone else tells you all you need to know about how useless this [report] is,” an adviser to billionaire Keystone opponent Tom Steyer told The Canadian Press on Friday.
*It’s an 11-volume review and I haven’t read it. Hence the “apparently” qualification.