A former senior U.S. State Department official who recently left the agency said Aug. 28 that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will likely approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which is meant to bring Canadian tar-sands oil to U.S. markets, according to a Platts news report.

David Goldwyn, who left his State Department post as head of international energy affairs earlier this year, said on the television program Platts Energy Week that with a positive environmental review and “national interest determination,” Clinton would approve the pipeline.

“I think that balancing jobs, energy security — a country which has increased production potentially the size of Libya — I think the case for a pipeline is overwhelming, and she will approve it,” Goldwyn said. Goldwyn made his comments at the conclusion of remarks on how the world energy markets will fair in the wake of unrest in Libya.

Platts reports that the pipeline has been opposed by environmental groups, who say the U.S. should not import oil derived from oil sands. The process results in much more greenhouse gas emissions than traditional drilling methods. In addition, opponents say a spill from the pipeline could be devastating to the local environment.

In an environmental impact statement (EIS) released Aug. 26, the State Department concluded the proposed pipeline was preferable to more than a dozen other alternatives, including not building the pipeline. However, immediately after the release, State Department Assistant Secretary Kerri-Ann Jones said other factors, such as national security, economics and foreign policy, would have to be considered before a decision was made, Platts reports.

The EIS drew praise from industry, including the pipeline”s developer, TransCanada, and the American Petroleum Institute. Opposition came from other corners, however, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, and U.S. Representative Edward Markey from Massachusetts, the senior Democrat on the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee.