One more element has been put in place with the release of a Draft State Department Assessment of the impacts of the pipeline.
In my mind, the assessment is correct that the pipeline will have limited impact on the future development of the oil sands. Already higher volumes of oil are being transported by rail and barge. There also appears to be positive support to extend pipelines to the Irving refinery so that people in Atlantic Canada can enjoy access to lower priced, domestic oil supplies.
Who knows? Someday even a pipeline through BC might be possible. One can only hope that federal and provincial governments get to work on Aboriginal settling land claims in BC and take a lead in the duty to consult.
If the Keystone pipeline is blocked, the real losers will be refineries in Texas that require heavy oil and will have to import more expensive, world priced oil from Mexico or Venezuela. Other losers of a rejection will be construction workers located in the USA as well as suppliers of equipment and steel.
The winner of a lack of approval could be Alberta and Saskatchewan if people listen to Brad Wall and build refineries here in Canada to convert heavy oil into much more valuable products such as diesel fuel. While this idea has to be approached with caution, perhaps it could be a good investment for governments and balance the playing field with the US Green lobby.
One thing that is very clear is that Canada has to diversify oil exports beyond the USA. The cost of maintaining the status quo is too high.