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Since the State Department released its final environmental analysis of the Keystone XL pipeline, a diverse combination of people and organizations has come out backing it.
Environmentalists have drawn a line in the sand on the Keystone XL pipeline. It’s the wrong line in the wrong sand, far away from any realistic assessment of the merits — as yet another government analysis has confirmed. It’s past time for President Obama to set aside politics and resolve this bizarre distraction of an issue.
The State Department’s latest study — the product of more than five years of investigation — largely confirms the conclusions of previous assessments and those of many independent energy experts: Allowing the firm TransCanada to build Keystone XL, which would run across the Canadian border to Steele City, Neb., is unlikely to have significant effects on climate-change-causing greenhouse gas emissions. That’s because its construction, or its rejection, would not significantly affect the extraction of tar sands bitumen, an oil-like substance, in Alberta.
Second, the Detroit News added its support for the pipeline by noting how it will improve U.S. energy security:
Canadian oil exports to the U.S. increased 5 percent last year. The United States gets 30 percent of its imported oil from Canada, it’s largest supplier. Keystone will add substantially to that figure, and combined with rising domestic production allow America to get most of its oil from stable countries outside the Middle East.
That would provide a huge national security dividend. Combined with the State Department estimate of 42,000 direct and indirect jobs created by Keystone, it’s hard to see the downside for the United States in giving approval.
Next, there’s MSNBC host Ed Schultz, who said the pipeline “makes sense” and urged President Obama to give it his “stamp of approval.”
Then we have Ken Salazar, former Interior Department Secretary for President Obama. Ashe Schow at the Washington Examiner reports that he’s endorsed the pipeline:
Salazar, speaking at the North American Prospect Expo, said the pipeline would be beneficial for the country, since the U.S. would be using that oil regardless of whether it's built.
“At the end of the day, we are going to be consuming that oil,” Salazar said. “So is it better for us to get the oil from our good neighbor from the north, or to be bringing it from some place in the Middle East?”
Salazar joins President Obama’s former National Security Advisor, Tom Donilon in publicly backing the Keystone XL pipeline.
And earlier this week, a bipartisan group of Senators joined union and business leaders at a press conference urging President Obama to approve construction of the pipeline.
This growing support by influencers and policymakers reflects the public’s support for the Keystone XL pipeline. A Pew Research poll last fall found that 65% favor the pipeline, including 51% of Democrats and 64% of independents. They all understand that the Keystone XL pipeline would create thousands of jobs (something the President shouldn’t brush off), boost the economy, and have a minimal impact on the environment.
Five-plus years of review is enough. It's time to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.
[H/t Oil Sands Fact Check]