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January 04, 2013
Businesses ask president to approve Keystone XL

A federal decision on the Keystone XL pipeline is the most anticipated energy action in the first quarter of 2013, and at least 153 businesses and business associations have petitioned President Obama to approve the project quickly.  Federal approval to construct the pipeline would be in the form of a Presidential Permit, which the U.S. Department of State issues for international projects.  The Department faces a March 2013 deadline for deciding on Keystone XL.

In a letter spearheaded by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the petitioners emphasize the job-creating potential of the project–a projected 20,000 manufacturing and construction jobs and more than 118,000 spin-off jobs. 

“The Keystone XL Pipeline is a clear job creator that would improve the nation’s energy security,” the letter states.  “It has the strong support of many members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, organized labor, hundreds of mayors, veterans, and businesses across America, and hundreds of thousands of individual citizens who want to see the jobs and opportunities created by the pipeline and the energy it will transport realized in their communities.”

Years of review

The letter notes that the proposal by TransCanada has been under review for nearly 5 years, including 3 years of environmental review, and has been the subject of more than 100 public hearings, including nine hearings along the proposed pipeline route. 

Those reviews resulted in a proposal to reroute the pipeline around an environmentally sensitive aquifer in Nebraska.  The state is nearing completion of its review of the revised route, leaving the federal government as the “sole remaining barrier to construction,” according to the letter.

“We believe the White House must allow the U.S. Department of State to expeditiously move forward with the remaining regulatory process and approve the construction of Keystone XL,” the businesses say.  “There are many challenges threatening our economy in both the short term and the long term; construction of this pipeline should not be one of them.”

Secretary of State

Potential approval of Senator John Kerry (D-MA) as the new Secretary of State may be a factor in the final federal decision.  Kerry has been a vigorous advocate of federal action to control climate change.  According to the EPA, development of Canadian tars sands oil that would feed the pipeline has the potential to release 27 million metric tons of CO2, the equivalent of seven coal-fired power plants operating continuously, or having 6.2 million cars on the road for 50 years.  TransCanada has stated that development will occur with or without a pipeline into the United States.

Click here for NAM’s letter.

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