Industry groups press for prompt Keystone XL project approval

Oil industry groups increased pressure on the US Congress and President Barack Obama to approve the proposed Keystone XL crude oil pipeline project’s cross-border permit application.

“Three long years have gone by and it’s now time to immediately put 20,000 Americans to work building this new pipeline,” said Marty Durbin, American Petroleum Institute executive vice-president. “Obtaining energy from our friendly and reliable North American neighbor will reduce our imports from unstable regions of the world. Surely, enhancing our nation’s energy security and providing thousands of new jobs has got to be in the best interest of all Americans.”

His observation to reporters during a teleconference followed National Petrochemical & Refiners Association Pres. Charles T. Drevna’s Sept. 14 praise of a letter from US Reps. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) and Mike Ross (D-Ark.), along with 103 other House members, urging US Senate Majority Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) to advance as soon as possible their bill setting a deadline for the project’s approval. The House approved HR 1938 by 279 to 147 votes on July 26.

“The Keystone XL pipeline would provide America with a critically important source of energy and jobs to fuel our economic growth and increase our national security,” Drevna said. “America has no better ally than our close friend and neighbor Canada.”

Durbin said now that the US Department of State has completed its environmental assessment of the project, which would transport more crude oil recovered from Alberta’s oil sands to US refiners, API looks forward to participating in public hearings next week along the proposed route. The meetings will provide another opportunity to showcase the proposed project’s major employment, economic, and energy security benefits, he maintained.

But another member of Nebraska’s congressional delegation said he’s not certain he supports the project. US Sen. Ben Nelson (D) said on Sept. 7 that many people in the state oppose its route across the Ogallala Aquifer and Sand Hills. “I’m not certain the State Department is best qualified to address its environmental impacts,” he said during a Sept. 7 energy jobs summit on Capitol Hill. “The final decision about its route should be made by the state.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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