Keystone pipeline long overdue

A favorable

report on the Keystone XL oil pipeline by the U.S. State Department

represents a thimble’s worth of sanity in Washington,

D.C.

The proposed pipeline, which would

transport more than 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta, Canada,

to refineries in

Southeast Texas, has been in a holding pattern for nearly six

years as it has been examined by a gaggle of federal agencies.

The State Department’s report concluded that whether the pipeline is constructed, the oil will be extracted and refined.

That will displease environmentalists who have long argued that the tar sands oil from the Alberta fields will exacerbate

carbon pollution.

Oil industry officials have

countered in this political football debate that the Canadian government

plans to sell the oil

regardless of whether the pipeline is built and that the United

States’ interest would be best served by building it and refining

the oil here rather than seeing it exported to oil-starved

economies in China or India.

The pipeline would also be good for the U.S. economy by creating nearly 42,000 jobs.

“In the United States, we already

have 2.6 million miles of pipeline transporting oil, gas and refined

products that this

country needs for its own economic vitality,” said Sen. Mary

Landrieu, D-La. “These pipelines provide energy to 313 million

citizens, 114 million homes and 18 million businesses across the

country. So we are struggling to understand why the 800 additional

miles in the Keystone XL pipeline are facing such delay. The

pipeline is critical to securing our energy independence ...

.

“In Louisiana, we explore, produce

and find a lot of energy, and we transport it. We want to keep our

people and the environment

safe, and this pipeline removes congestion and provides a safe way

to get energy where it’s needed. The time for studies is

over, and it’s time to act now to get this project underway.”

That eight other federal agencies, including the Departments of Interior, Commerce and Energy and the Environmental Protection

Agency, will have to sign off on the pipeline speaks volumes about the bureaucratic over-regulation in Washington.

Brigham A. McCown, a former administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, called the Keystone

XL the most scrutinized pipeline in the nation’s history.

“The fact that it’s lasted as long as it has means one of two things,” he said. “They’ve either done a very good, thorough

job, or they’ve slowed it down due to political pressure.”

It’s past time that the politics get cast aside by the Obama administration and the Keystone XL pipeline gets built.