Demonstrators during the Native Nations Rise protest on March 10, 2017. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

The Keystone XL pipeline was approved to run through Nebraska on Friday, as the project faces a federal lawsuit in Montana and landowners refuse to approve easements, the New York Times reports.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Amy Harder: The political relevance of this project has taken on a life far larger than its actual impact. Expect this to be a focus in the 2020 presidential general election, given it's a clear differentiator between President Trump and all the Democratic candidates.

Where it stands: "Protesters, including from Native American tribes in Nebraska and South Dakota, have promised to mobilize if construction begins," per the Times. The pipeline, delayed by former President Obama after it was proposed in 2008, would transport crude oil from Canada to southern Nebraska.

Go deeper: Judge blocks construction of controversial Keystone XL pipeline

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus — COVID-19 looms over White House Halloween celebrations
  2. Health: Fauci says maybe we should mandate masks if people don't wear them — America was sick well before it ever got COVID-19
  3. World: Polish President Andrzej Duda tests positive for COVID-19.

Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus

Marc Short with Katie Miller, Vice President Pence's communications director, in March. Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times via Reuters

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force.

10 hours ago - World

Opposition leader Leopoldo López flees Venezuela

Venezuelan opposition politician Leopoldo López outside the Spanish embassy in Caracas, in 2019. Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP via Getty Images

Leopoldo López, a former political prisoner and prominent Venezuelan opposition leader, has left the country, his Popular Will party confirmed in a statement Saturday.

Why it matters: He's been highly influential in the push to oust President Nicolás Maduro's regime and a mentor to opposition leader Juan Guaidó. He'd been in the Spanish ambassador's Caracas residence since escaping house arrest in April 2019 following a failed military uprising.