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AS I SEE IT

Posted 2/04/14 (Tue)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

With last week’s announcement by the U.S. State Department that the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline would be unlikely to alter global greenhouse gas emissions, one would hope that President Obama will finally sign off on this much needed project that would help reduce America’s dependence on overseas oil suppliers.
For nearly six years, President Obama has held the 1,179-mile pipeline project, which would bring roughly 830,000 barrels of oil a day into the United States from Canada, hostage.
At issue for the President, was his concern that the project would significantly impact global warming.
But according to this latest environmental study, the State Department has concluded that the Canadian tar sands are likely to be developed regardless of U.S. action on the pipeline and that other options, such as using rail, trucks and barges, to get the oil from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries would be worse for climate change.
So the President is once again caught in the cross hairs of decision-making. Should he side with opponents of the project and continue to delay the project hoping that Canada will ultimately choose to ship their tar sand oil to the West Coast where it will be shipped overseas. Or should he finally acknowledge that the $5.4 billion project is worthy of his support and help bring jobs and energy independence to the United States.
Both of North Dakota’s Senators (Republican John Hoeven and Democrat Heidi Heitkamp) have both been long supporters of the project, and along with strong bipartisan support from fellow Congressmen and Senators in Washington, D.C., are encouraging the President to approve the project.
But the President is not only feeling the heat from members of Congress and the Canadian government to finally make a decision on this project, he is also getting pressure from the general public to approve the project as well. According to a recent Harris Interactive Poll, a large majority of Americans support not only the Keystone XL project, but also expanding the nation’s oil and gas infrastructure with new pipelines and other facilities.
North Dakota and the United States needs to have the Keystone XL Pipeline approved.
With thousands of pipelines already crisscrossing the U.S., it is hard to believe that getting a decision on this pipeline has taken this long. But then considering the inability of our leaders in Washington, D.C. to reach any decision, it should be no surprise that this project is stalled out.
The time has finally come for a decision. If the State Department’s study cannot find that the project will significantly impact the environment nor alter global warming, then it is time for President Obama and his regulatory agencies to give the project a green light to proceed.
It is a project that is in this nation’s best interest.