A look at statements issued from the American Petroleum Institute and the Natural Resources Defenses Council shows just how contentious the decision on whether to build TransCanada’s Keystone Pipeline really is.

API rapped the State Dept.'s decision to take another look at the proposed pipeline and delaying its final ruling until President Obama has been safely re-elected for another term as putting a “hold” on 20,000 shovel-ready jobs.

API president Jack Gerard said:
"This decision is deeply disappointing and troubling. Whether it will help the president retain his job is unclear, but it will cost thousands of shovel-ready opportunities for American workers. There is no real issue about the environment that requires further investigation, as the president's own State Department has recently concluded after extensive project reviews that go back more than three years. This is about politics and keeping a radical constituency opposed to any and all oil and gas development in the president's camp in November 2012. Besides creating thousands of jobs almost immediately for Americans, this project would also have helped strengthen our energy partnership with Canada and helped reduce America's reliance on oil from less stable sources."

NRDC president Frances Beinecke countered:
"Make no mistake: a no-holds-barred review of the Keystone XL pipeline will reveal that this entire scheme is a boon to Big Oil and a disaster-in-the-making for the rest of us. It would drive more destruction of the Boreal forest, turbo-charge global warming, threaten water supplies in the heartland, raise gas prices and lock America into the dirtiest oil on the planet for decades to come. We look forward to working with the Obama Administration on a new and thorough review process -- one that will, at long last, reveal the true costs of the Keystone XL and the clean energy alternatives that the American people so urgently want and deserve.”

Today’s Wall Street Journal slapped Obama for opposing the creation of the blue-collar jobs promised by the pipeline. It called him the President of the One Percent, which is pretty rich coming from the Organ of the One Percent.

Two things are certain: Keystone will be a campaign issue in the presidential race and the fight over its approval will only intensify as 2012 progresses.