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The State Department is expected to release a draft environmental impact statement of the Keystone XL pipeline soon. All signs indicate this new report will echo the findings of previous federal reviews and conclude the project is environmentally sound.
With the governor of Nebraska having approved a new route for the pipeline through his state, this report removes what should be the final barrier to the president’s approval of this critical project. No single policy decision would be more effective at delivering what the American public says it wants most from Washington: new jobs and economic growth.
And support for the project continues to grow. A poll released Feb. 13 by Harris Interactive shows that 69 percent of registered voters support building the pipeline. What’s more, a bipartisan group of 53 senators — led by John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Max Baucus, D-Mont. — sent a letter to the president last month urging him to immediately authorize the project in light of the governor’s decision. That letter was followed by a similar bipartisan letter signed by 146 members of the House.
Approval of the full Keystone XL pipeline would connect Canadian crude oil and new production from America’s upper plains states to state-of-the-art refineries on the American Gulf Coast. At full capacity, it would transport 830,000 barrels per day.
The application for approval has been under review by the U.S. government for more than four years, far longer than any other cross-border pipeline project and more than twice as long as it would take to build the pipeline.
And keep in mind, it’s not like the Keystone XL pipeline is some new sort of thing. There are already thousands of miles worth of oil and gas pipelines run all over the United States. The Keystone pipeline is different only because the environmental left have made it their cause célèbre, and President Obama has been more than happy to pander to that base.