Keystone XL pipeline is a proposed 1700-mile extension of the already existent Keystone pipeline, which stretches from Canada’s Athabasca oil sands to Steele City, Nebraska, Cushing, Oklahoma and Wood River, Illinois . The $7 billion dollar extension would have the entire Keystone megaproject pumping 1.1 million barrels per day from the oil sands to refineries in Nederland and Port Arthur, Texas .
In order for TransCanada to begin construction, they must obtain a Presidential Permit. On January 18, Obama rejected congressional Republican’s deadline for a decision saying that “a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment” could not be accurately completed in the time allotted by the arbitrary deadline. 
Yes, there are profound environmental risks associated with construction. The pipeline runs through the Nebraskan sand hills, a very a delicate ecosystem in which an oil spill would devastate. Also, the pipeline would cross the Ogallala aquifer, which provides 30% of the nations’ irrigation water . However, TransCanada has no history of oil spills and I believe that if the proper safety and environmental precautions are taken, then hopefully there will be no leaks. There are already 55,000 miles of petroleum pipelines in the US and many of them cross sensitive areas . I feel that because of the BP Deepwater Horizon’s spill, there is more attention on the topic of environmental preservation than necessary.
Given that this is an election year, I also feel that Obama is just postponing the decision so as to not deter voters. The purpose of the presidential permit is to decide if the pipeline would be in the nation’s best interest. I believe that it would. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio stated Keystone XL’s construction would “create 100,000 new jobs . Also, if we buy Canada’s oil, then we are less dependent on foreign sources. Besides, if we don’t buy this oil, then someone else will (i.e. China). Obama promised that he’s create jobs and push the US to cleaner energy. Having to make a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline would force him to break one of his campaign promises, a move that could ruin his chances for 2012. Deferring the decision is in the best interest of his campaign, not of the nation. The first permit to build Keystone XL was submitted in 2008 and was continually delayed until a proper EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) was completed. Continuing to defer decision is just going to push TransCanada to look for a different nation to buy its oil.