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The issue

President Trump will sign an executive order today to resurrect construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

The facts

First proposed in 2010 by the private oil company TransCanada, Keystone XL is a pipeline from Alberta to Nebraska. Its proposed route has been changed multiple times to account for protests that it would run through Nebraska's environmentally sensitive Sandhills.

Construction of the pipeline would help further develop of Alberta's oil fields, which extract a form of oil called bitumen, which requires large-scale and often toxic methods for its extraction. TransCanada suspended its permitting process in 2015 after being unable to get it through the Obama administration, but said in November it still wants to do the project.

Why it matters

Short term: A win for Trump, as State Department estimates that the two year construction will create 42,000 jobs — playing right into Trump's "America first" policy — although only 35 of them will be permanent. A loss for environmental groups, who put so much into stopping the effort.

Long-term: A win for oil companies, as XL represents a major investment in Alberta's oil fields and creates a huge new supply of oil for U.S. refineries. But it's also a source for environmentalist organizers. As Nebraska environmentalist Jane Kleeb, who organized opposition to Keystone XL, put it: "We knew this would be coming. We stand and fight...."

Go deeper

15 mins ago - World

Netanyahu doesn't want a fight with Biden over Iran — yet

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Eric Baradat (AFP), Gali Tibbon (AFP)/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, hoping to avoid an immediate clash with President Biden over Iran, will give dialogue a chance, Israeli officials say.

Why it matters: Biden intends to try to resume the 2015 nuclear deal, which Netanyahu vehemently opposes. The two are on a collision course, and memories are fresh of the crisis in U.S.-Israel relations when Netanyahu was publicly campaigning against Barack Obama's attempts to reach a deal — including in a speech to Congress.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
49 mins ago - Technology

Doomsday Clock stays at 100 seconds to midnight

Robert Rosner, left, and Suzet McKinney reveal the 2021 setting of the Doomsday Clock. Photo: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists/Thomas Gaulkin

In its annual update on Wednesday morning, scientists announced the Doomsday Clock would be kept at 100 seconds to midnight.

Why it matters: The decision to keep the clock hands steady — tied for the closest it has ever been to midnight in the clock's 74-year history — reflects a picture of progress on climate change and politics undercut by growing threats from infectious disease and disruptive technologies.