As we roll into the new year the U.S. may be giving itself a present in the form of extending a pipeline from North Dakota all the way down to the Gulf. Supporters say it will create jobs, true, and the opponents say it puts us in a position we won't want to be in for the next 10 years. What do you think?

Steve Hargreaves - CNN.com

The State Department is set to issue what could be a final ruling to allow a massive new pipeline expansion from central Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico. A decision is expected early in the new year.

Known as Keystone, the project is an expansion of an existing pipeline that now terminates in Oklahoma. Stretching over 1,600 miles -- four times the length of the Trans-Alaska system -- the new pipeline would be one of the biggest in the country.

Canada's oil sands have drawn numerous critics who say the way the oil is extracted harms the environment.

But they are also the United States' largest single source of foreign oil, contributing over 1 million barrels a day. If built, the pipeline would boost that number by a third.

The pipeline would also be the oil sands' first major access to a deepwater seaport, opening up access to worldwide markets.

Supporters say the Keystone pipeline would create jobs and let the country replace Venezuelan or Middle Eastern imports with well-regulated, dependable Canadian crude. They also say if the United States doesn't want the oil, the Chinese will gladly take it.

Opponents, who have just wrapped up a $500,000 ad campaign in the D.C. area, say the project would bind the country to an unnecessary and dirty form of oil for decades to come.

via Giant oil pipeline in the works from Alberta to the Gulf

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