Yet again, the State Department has determined that there is no viable environmental objection to the Keystone XL pipeline. In State's "Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement," they conclude that since the oil which the pipeline would transport will be produced in any case and transported in any case (just through some other method), the pipeline will have no impact on carbon emissions or climate change.
Yes, the question was ridiculous to begin with, but this was a major hook on which President Obama was hanging his refusal to permit the pipeline's construction.) Indeed, to the extent that the oil would be transported to the Gulf via railroad (no doubt what Obama's buddy Warren Buffet, whose investment company owns the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad company, hopes for), greenhouse gas emissions would be much higher than the scenario in which the pipeline is used.
Similarly, transporting the oil by rail, according to State, massively increases the risk of spills compared to transporting by pipeline.
Radical "green" groups opposed to the pipeline (they don't love the environment as much as they hate humanity) will continue to push Obama to refuse to permit Keystone XL and will continue to smear the environmental impact research as tainted by "conflicts of interest" which the State Department strongly denies. (Indeed, it's hard to see this administration allowing a pro-pipeline bias in the process.)
This could put Obama in a tough situation -- or rather it would put him in a tough situation if he cared about Democratic electoral prospects in the 2014 elections. However, since he is resigned to using "my pen and my phone" rather than going through Congress, I expect that he doesn't care about the politics and it will come down to whether he wants to appease the greens or support labor unions who want the pipeline built.
My prediction: He will find a way to delay a decision until after 2014 just because that's easy to do, and because he is a man who is incapable of true leadership. I do believe he will eventually cave in and approve the pipeline.