By ANDREW RESTUCCIA and TALIA BUFORD | 1/31/14 3:00 PM EST Updated: 1/31/14 5:54 PM EST
The State Department on Friday released a final environmental study of the Keystone XL oil pipeline that increases the odds the project will win approval from the Obama administration, delivering yet another disappointment for climate activists.
The long-awaited analysis echoes past State Department studies that found little evidence the Alberta-to-Texas pipeline would worsen climate change by triggering a big surge of oil production in western Canada. Despite some new language that could bolster environmentalists’ arguments, project supporters say the findings should remove any reason for President Barack Obama to stand in the pipeline’s way when he makes the final decision.
Along with the climate fears, the study also discounted climate activists’ claims that the oil funneled through Keystone will be exported from the Gulf Coast, mainly benefiting countries such as China.