Should the Obama administration give its approval to a controversial pipeline project that would transport Canadian crude oil to the United States?
The pipeline would allow the U.S. to import an additional half-million barrels of oil a day from Canada, which is already this country's top foreign supplier at about 1.9 million barrels a day. Much of Canada's oil is extracted from oil sands, a process that environmental groups say emits more greenhouse gases than conventional oil drilling. The EPA has requested more information about the environmental impact of the extraction process.
Because the project crosses international borders, it requires approval from the State Department. The department has said it expects to make its decision by the end of the year.
What benefits would the pipeline bring to U.S. energy policy? Would they be outweighed by the environmental concerns? Would this counteract the administration's goal of reducing the nation's dependence on foreign oil? What should be the overriding factors the State Department considers when making its decision?