In an about-face, Canadian oil company TransCanada has asked the U.S. government to temporarily suspend its review of the Keystone XL pipeline. The proposed pipeline to ship crude oil from the western Canada to Texas has been the subject of bitter debate for years.
U.S. environmentalists say the request for a delay is a stalling tactic in hopes the next U.S. president will be a Republican less likely to oppose the pipeline. The current President Barak Obama has voiced concerns about the pipeline and all of the most prominent presidential candidates oppose it as well.
Oilsand bitumen considered ‘dirtier’ than conventional
The pipeline would carry an average of 830,000 barrels of oil per day to American refineries. Those in favour of it say it would lessen American reliance on oil from the Middle East and create thousands of jobs in the U.S.
Those against say it would be an environmental disaster and suggest its economic benefits have been overstated.
The extraction of bitumen from Canada’s oilsands emits high quantities of greenhouse gases. Some Canadian companies are researching new methods of extraction to try to reduce those emissions which contribute to climate change.