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Sarah Palin’s pet project got a huge boost today. An independent group, Environment Canada gave the green light for the  US-Canada pipeline.  

Environment Canada studied the environmental and social impact of the 2,760-kilometre pipeline (1,700 in Canada & 1,060 in Alaska) and determined that the project "would provide the foundation for a sustainable northern future. The challenge to all will be to build on that foundation."

The report provides 176 recommendations to ensure that the pipeline is developed responsibly, ranging from pipeline design strategies to waste management schemes to wildlife preservation. 

The positive endorsement is a crucial step towards the approval of the project, which can only come from the National Energy Board. Federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice has also been waiting to see the report before determining how the Federal government will support the project.   With a positive report on the environmental impact quick passage by National Energy Board is much more likely. 

The biggest hurdle facing the project has been the funding and that was finalized back in June.  Governor Sarah Palin meet with Exxon and Trans-Canada to finalize the massive deal on June, 12 2009.

In a June interview with Good Morning America Sarah Palin said: "It's gonna happen and we're very excited about this development,"

Exxon's tilt toward TransCanada suggests the oil giant believes that's not true. Exxon is America's largest company, with extraction rights to a third of all Alaska's gas reserves. It can use them to fill either pipeline. "We will make a decision based on commercial reality," Massey said. "But ... why would we put our money and not our gas in the pipeline?"

Other doubters had suggested the pipeline could never happen because of a global gas glut, making the pipeline uneconomical. But with the project slated for completion in 2018, and the need for natural gas expected to rise between 20% and 40% by 2030, it's precisely now that such a project should be built.

"I think it's very shortsighted" to assume that"market conditions are going to stay as they are today," Palin told CNN. In an interview with IBD last July when gasoline hit $4 at the pump, she noted that if drilling had started in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge just five years ago, when policymakers were dismissing the idea of $100-a-barrel oil, "we wouldn't be in our predicament today."

The pipeline will be the largest construction project in North American history.


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