The Petro States of America

Mark Hertsgaard
Bloomberg Businessweek cover

The Keystone XL pipeline should be an open-and-shut case from a climate perspective, the criterion President Obama has set for judging it. In a speech in June, he said he would approve the pipeline “only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.” By that standard, this should be an easy, data-driven call to make. It hasn’t been. And the core reason the Keystone saga has dragged on inconclusively for years has little to do with the well-aired talking points both sides of the debate trot out on cable TV talk shows.