Two hedge fund managers are ardently and vocally against the pipeline. One is Jeremy Grantham, the relatively low-profile chairman of $108 billion money manager GMO.
In February, he was nearly arrested at a White House protest organized by the Sierra Club, for whom he is a lead supporter. His daughter Isabel was among 48 people arrested for handcuffing themselves to the White House fence, according to media reports.
A spokesman for Grantham declined to comment.
The other anti-pipeline hedge funder is Tom Steyer, the billionaire founder of $18 billion Farallon Capital Management. Steyer retired last year to devote himself to political causes; Keystone has been his top priority.
A prominent Democratic fundraiser and environmentalist, Steyer has personally lobbied President Obama and created and appeared in numerous anti-Keystone ads through his group Nextgen Climate Action. Like Grantham, he also protested in Washington at an anti-Keystone rally earlier this year.
(Read more: Paulson, Bloomberg, Steyer backing study of U.S. climate impacts)
"Climate change is the defining issue of our generation. We have a choice between investing in dirty tar sands that will worsen our climate crisis or cleaner energy that reduces our dependence on foreign fuels, brings new jobs in growing industries and preserves the planet for future generations," Steyer told CNBC.com.
T.Boone Pickens, chairman of energy hedge fund firm BP Capital, says Steyer and other supporters are misguided because Keystone would reduce American dependence on oil from unsavory regimes.
"The Keystone pipeline, of course that's foreign also, but it's friendly foreign. The stuff coming out of the Mideast, I don't consider to be friendly," Pickens told CNBC.com.
"So I'll take friendly every time over unfriendly. But I don't have to have any Army, Navy or Marines to protect the Keystone pipeline. So you've got to be a sap not to take that oil from them.They have as much oil in Northern Alberta as the Saudis have."
Pickens dismissed environmental concerns from the pipeline itself: "It's not an environmental issue. There are pipelines all over the United States. They didn't want to cross Nebraska and there are 51 pipelines across Nebraska. So the pipeline can be laid out."
"Let's be clear: The oil from the Keystone XL pipeline will go through the United States, not to the United States. This is an export pipeline that will mean cheaper oil for our foreign competitors," Steyer told CNBC.com when asked about Picken's comments.
"Instead, we should be thinking differently about energy. By investing in clean energy, we can truly achieve energy independence, while creating jobs and addressing the climate crisis."
(Read more: Keystone would mean OPEC is obsolete, says Pickens)