The State Department said the environmental impact of the Keystone XL pipeline that would start in oil fields of Alberta, Canada, would be offset by the benefits, The New York Times reported Friday.
Environmental groups had vehemently opposed the project, saying it would have an immediate detrimental effect and contribute to long-term problems, like greenhouse gas emissions.
The pipeline would take the country in the wrong direction by fostering dependence oil fossil fuels, rather than weaning the nation from its petroleum habit, environmentalists said.
Recently, a coalition of environmental groups that included Greenpeace and the Rainforest Action Network said their support for President Barack Obama hung in the balance and could be jeopardized by approval of the pipeline.
The State Department's approval is not the final word on the $7 billion project, which requires further public hearings. However, the department's report indicates the Obama administration will not stand it its way.