Update, 12/19/11: A two-month extension of the payroll tax cut passed the Senate on Saturday, and with it, a provision that forces President Obama to decide about the Keystone XL pipeline within 60 days and allows “any changes to the pipeline route to bypass the National Environmental Policy Act, which subjects major federal projects to review,” according to The New York Times .
Check back later today for more details and links to additional news stories.
The Keystone XL Pipeline is back in the headlines, as news of its inclusion on yesterday’s House-passed payroll tax bill spread.
“Now at the center of a political showdown over extending the payroll tax cut, the pipeline that would run from northern Alberta in Canada to the Gulf Coast of Texas, is supported by unions eager to get their members working on construction jobs under the project,” reports CNN . “However, environmentalists oppose how the pipeline bolsters U.S. reliance on oil—in this case a kind that results in more greenhouse gas emissions during production—as well as the potential impact on natural resources.”
We’ve covered the unfolding drama of this pipeline in our print pages and online, on our blog. In last year’s “Crude Awakening ,” writer Barry Yeoman looked at the environmental cost of mining Alberta’s tar sands. Earlier this year, columnist Ted Williams detailed the history and future of the 1,700-mile pipeline in a piece called “Tarred and Feathered .” And when the State Department stalled plans for moving forward in favor of more research about the environmental impact, senior editor Susan Cosier blogged about this decision .
Many of the major mainstream news outlets have covered—and continue to write about—Keystone. Here’s a look at what several have recently reported.
Opinion Report: Keystone XL  (The New York Times)
An op-ed by editor Andrew Rosenthal.
House Passes Extension of Cut to Payroll Taxes  (The New York Times)
A look at the bill passed yesterday, including details about the Keystone provision.
Keystone Pipeline Jobs Claims: A Bipartisan Fumble (Washington Post)
Where does jobs creation come into the pipeline story? Washington Post columnist Glenn Kessler breaks down the facts.
Payroll-Tax Fight Stands in Way of Year-End Budget  Bill (Wall Street Journal)
“Congress lurched toward another round of political brinksmanship,” the story reads, “as haggling over payroll-tax relief has slowed approval of a year-end budget bill needed to keep the government open beyond Friday.”
Keystone Pipeline, Now a Political Football, Won’t Determine Oil Sands Endgame  (Christian Science Monitor)
“Keystone pipeline extension, part of payroll tax bill approved by the US House, has met fierce resistance from Democrats, environmentalists,” the article reads. “But they’re aiming at the wrong target if they want to slow Canadian oil sands development.”
Keystone Pipeline a Tough Decision for Obama  (CNN)
A look at where the President stands on this issue.
House Passes Payroll Tax Plan Opposed by Obama (CNN)
An overview of the bill that passed yesterday, plus its future in front of the Senate and later, Obama. Also, more on what writer Tom Cohen calls the “pipeline showdown.”
Keystone-Payroll Tax Combo a Dem Dilemma (Politico)
Congressional Democratic leaders agree about opposing Republican efforts to combine the payroll tax with the Keystone pipeline. But the article asks, what about Dems who have “backed quick approval of the project in the past”?
Congress Cannot Accelerate Keystone Decision: State Department  (Reuters)
The State Department, which in November stalled plans for the Keystone Pipeline to move forward without more study of its environmental impact, warned that any fast-tracking of the project would “violate environmental laws and force it to withhold approval.”