Nightly News   |  January 31, 2014

Report: Keystone Pipeline Won’t Impact Environment

A long-delayed environmental report from the U.S. State Department could remove a major hurdle for a controversial oil pipeline from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast.

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>>> and hot topics, just getting interesting where president obama is concerned. it has to do with the keystone pipeline , and a long-delayed environmental impact report could remove a major hurdle for its approval. we get our report from nbc's andrea mitchell .

>> reporter: it is a classic battle. the argument between wild live and climate change . the pipeline would stretch miles, from canada to nebraska, delivering 830,000 barrels a day of crude oil onto the gulf coast . president obama trailed for months by anti-pipeline protesters had promised he would not approve it if it would accelerate climate change .

>> our national interests will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.

>> reporter: today's report says it will not have an effect on the environment either way. approval or denial of one crude oil project remains unlikely to significantly impact demand for heavy crude oil , the oil that creates the worst pollution. in other words this oil will be produced whether the pipeline is built or not. pipeline advocates say that president obama has no excuse not to go ahead.

>> time and time again it shows environmental impact .

>> reporter: what about jobs? the report says they will produce temporary construction jobs for a year, in montana, nebraska, and kansas, and 50 permanent jobs and states that of 14 protected species like the whooping crane , only one, the beetle, would be affected.

>> if there was a spill, animals could be impacted and the greatest threat to wildlife is climate change .

>> reporter: environmentalists point to this pipeline that has not been cleaned up.

>> there is enormous pressure within the beltway to approve this project. and i think around the country people understand this is actually a terrible idea.

>> reporter: environmentalists are also crying foul because they report the people tied to this had ties to the company. they are investigating alleged conflict of interest.

>> andrea mitchell in d.c. tonight, thank you.