The US State Department said Friday it expects by mid-August to release a final environmental impact statement on a proposed $13 billion oil pipeline that would stretch from Canada to Texas.
The 1,700 mile (2,700 kilometer) pipeline proposed by TransCanada, the Keystone XL, would begin in Alberta in western Canada and pass through the US states of Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma before ending up in Texas at the Gulf of Mexico.
A Republican-dominated Congressional committee voted on Wednesday for a resolution urging Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to "immediately approve" the project, which would guarantee oil access for the US.
But a number of environmental and citizen groups have launched a fight against the pipeline because of the oil's origin: the unconventional oil sands of Alberta require energy that produces a large volume of greenhouse gasses.
After the environmental impact statement is released, federal agencies will have 90 days to conduct a review of the document, with a final decision scheduled for the end of the year.
The State Department will also hold public meetings in each of the six states through which the pipeline would pass.
Explore further: US Senate to hold all-nighte climate change talkathon (Update)