The Keystone XL Pipeline project is almost certainly dead.
No, not because a bill that would have finally given the go-ahead to begin construction fell one vote short in the lame duck Senate last month. Sure, that halted the legislative approval process in its tracks, but only until January, when a new Congress arrives and is sworn in.
Republicans, who will have a majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, have pledged to bring it back for another vote in the next session.
The next vote may well bring a different result, but will the pipeline ever be built? That is something else altogether.
A lot has changed since TransCanada Pipelines first proposed building the nearly 1,200 mile-long extension to its existing pipeline network delivering Canadian crude oil to refineries in the Gulf Coast of Texas. The oil in question would come from the so-called oil sands projects in northern Alberta, ventures that high oil prices have made economically viable.
The explosion in the oil sands developments has transformed Alberta’s Fort McMurray into “Fort McMoney,” a boom town where houses and salaries can be higher than those in Canada’s largest city, Toronto — and where crime rates and drug usage rates are higher, too.