Pipeline Politics: Backgrounding Keystone XL

Why has a single pipeline project gotten so much attention from the right and the left? TIME explains.

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Expect President Obama to talk about energy during tonight’s State of the Union—and maybe even climate change, too. (Which would be a departure from the last few SOTU speeches.) Though he may not mention the project by name, the long-debated Keystone XL pipeline sits at the intersection of those two issues. Supporters say the pipeline, which would carry millions of barrels of oil sands crude a day from Canada, would produce jobs and help further wean the U.S. off oil from the Middle East. Critics worry that the pipeline could lead to damaging oil spills, and that the project will speed development of the carbon-heavy Canadian oil sands, worsening climate change. Want to know more? Check out the video explainer on Keystone that I put together with TIME’s Jacob Templin.