It doesn't matter.
Ever since the debate over the Keystone XL pipeline exploded three and half years ago, that's been the argument from the project's liberal supporters. Sure, the oil that Keystone would carry from the Alberta tar sands is three to four times more greenhouse-gas-intensive than conventional crude. But that's not on Keystone XL, we're told. Why? Because if TransCanada isn't able to build Keystone to the south, then another pipeline will be built to the west or east. Or that dirty oil will be transported by rail. But make no mistake, we have long been assured: all that carbon buried beneath Alberta's boreal forest will be mined no matter what the president decides.
In a recent CBC radio interview on the politics show The House, Gary Doer, Canada's ambassador to the United States, discussed Republican gains in the recent U.S. mid-term election. He predicted that a Republican-controlled U.S. Senate will likely vote to endorse the Keystone XL pipeline by amending an energy efficiency bill. Keystone XL, if then also approved by U.S. President Barack Obama, would transport diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands south through the U.S. to Gulf Coast refineries and ports.