WASHINGTON (AP) — The long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline cleared a major hurdle Friday as the State Department raised no major environmental objections to the controversial pipeline from Canada through the heart of the U.S. Republicans and some oil- and gas-producing states cheered, but the report further rankled environmentalists already at odds with President Barack Obama.

The department report stops short of recommending approval of the $7 billion pipeline, which has become a major symbol of the political debate over climate change. But the review gives Obama new cover if he chooses to endorse the pipeline in spite of opposition from many Democrats and environmental groups. Foes say the pipeline would carry “dirty oil” that contributes to global warming. They also worry about a spill.


Commentary by The Secular Jurist:  Obviously, this isn’t good news in the fight to mitigate climate change.  The Keystone XL pipeline, if approved, will expedite the burning of some of the dirtiest fossil fuel deposits on the planet.  In this modern era of corporate-dominated politics, the long-term health and well-being of ordinary people looks once more to be subordinated to the special interests of big money capitalism.