Oil industry group warns of "political consequences" surrounding oil pipeline

While the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada down the center of the U.S. has already proven a major political issue, now one of the pipeline's supporters is highlighting the potential political implications.

Reuters reports that American Petroleum Institute president Jack Gerard warned of potentially catastrophic political consequences for President Barack Obama if he should deny approval for the pipeline.

"Clearly, the Keystone XL pipeline is in the national interest," he said at his group's annual event. "A determination to decide anything less than that I believe will have huge political consequences."

Obama has until February 21 to make a decision on the pipeline after Republicans insisted upon a deadline before approving an extension of the payroll tax cuts.

The Associated Press reports that the president faces a difficult choice between alienating unions who have put substantial support behind constructing new pipelines and green activists, many of whom have already promised to end their financial support for Obama's campaign if he approves the project.

Further information on the prospects for oil pipelines in the U.S. can be found at PennEnergy's Research area.

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