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Editorial: Keystone Pipeline would allow US to reap benefits from Canadian oil

Last Modified: Monday, February 18, 2013 9:45 AM

Opposing sides are applying pressure on the White House for a favorable decision regarding the Keystone XL pipeline.

The proposed pipeline would transport 830,000 barrels of oil a day from northern Alberta, Canada to refineries in southeast Texas.

The project has been held up for more than a year after President Obama rejected the previous route because environmentalists said its construction threatened Nebraska’s Sand Hills region and that a spill could contaminate the Ogallala Aquifer.

However, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman has approved a revised route through his state that bypasses the Sand Hills region and aquifer.

Opponents continue to argue that heavy crude oil would exacerbate global warming and continue the United States’ dependence on fossil fuels.

Proponents say that the pipeline would create 9,000 construction jobs and total more than $5.3 billion in investments in the United States.

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., has entered the fray, along with a bipartisan group of senators, weighing in in favor of the pipeline. The group included Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D.; Joe Manchin, D-W.V.; John Cornyn, R-Texas; Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska; Mark Begich, D-Alaska; John Barrasso, R-Wy.; and John Boozman, R-Ark.

Last month, Landrieu and Sen. David Vitter, R-La., joined 51 other senators urging the president to green light the pipeline.

“I cannot emphasize enough the importance of this pipeline and how it will help us build a reliable, steady stream of oil and gas — not to mention the jobs it creates. It will give us oil from one of our most dependable and friendliest allies, Canada, as opposed to forcing us to do business with countries that do not share our values,” Landrieu said last week on the Senate floor.

Landrieu argues that Canada is going to extract the oil and sell it, regardless of the status of the Keystone Pipeline.

‘‘Who are they going to send it to? Are they going to send it to their good friend, the United States, to our refineries in Texas and Louisiana? Or are they going to ship it somewhere else in the world?” said Landrieu.

Keystone advocates worry about its future after President Obama emphasized a push for clean energy in his State of the Union address last week. They note that while a push for renewable energy is laudable, it could be decades before it meets the needs of this country.

It all comes to this: Do we want the United States to reap the benefits from the Canadian oil, or see it go to China or India?

The answer to that should be a no-brainer for the president.

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This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Ken Stickney, Jim Beam, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.

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