Republicans hope their Senate majority is the key to finally getting the Keystone XL pipeline built. The project would carry about 830,000 barrels of Alberta oil sands a day from Canada to US Gulf Coast refineries.
The project has been mired in delays for six years, awaiting State Department approval because a section crosses the US-Canada border. Environmentalists oppose Keystone XL, saying it would encourage investment in carbon-heavy oil sands. Industry says the pipeline will create jobs and strengthen North American energy independence.
But Keystone could become a major dilemma for Mr. Obama, who has said he will only approve the project if it doesn’t increase climate-warming carbon emissions. Some observers say he could approve the project in exchange for a concession from Republicans – perhaps on his climate agenda or on closing tax loopholes.