The American Petroleum Institute, the leading oil industry
trade group, renewed its call Thursday for President Barack Obama
to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, now that a route change has
will avoid Nebraska's environmentally sensitive Sand Hills,
where environmentalists say any spilled oil will tarnish a vast
underground water supply. The region was one of the major
flashpoints between environmentalists and those favoring of the
The detour will add another 100 miles to the 1,700-mile
pipeline that will run from the oil sands of Alberta, Canada,
through the pipeline hub of Cushing, Okla., to Texas Gulf Coast
refineries, reported the Associated Press.
The project has been contentious, and has divided Washington
lawmakers, pitched Republicans against Democrats, the House
against the Senate, as well as environmentalists against industry
proponents, as the White House tries balancing the country's
energy needs with environmental stewardship.
After months of inaction, however, TransCanda's project
has made huge gains this week, and the API's call to action comes
after several key votes.
On Wednesday, the House passed its fifth attempt at
greenlighting the project under no "additional conditions." The
Senate has yet to take up the issue, but has previously blocked
On Tuesday, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman singed into law a bill
that will allow the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality
to evaluate the route of every pipeline in the state, the
Keystone XL among them.
Obama early in the year scuttled the pipeline project when he
failed to approve the company's permit application, but on Feb.
27, the White House backed TransCanada's proposal to build the
southern half, from Cushing to the Texas coast, as a separate
The White House, at the time, welcomed news the company was
ready to resubmit its permit. Obama then said in March that
he would fast-track the construction of the pipeline's southern
portion as an independent endeavor, unrelated to the larger
northern portion, which has to cross the U.S.-Canada border.
Obama, has said, however, he will veto the measure the House
The API said the White House should stop offering excuses, and
approve the pipeline.
"The stars are aligning for America's energy future, and
President Obama should make the right choice now and approve the
entire Keystone XL pipeline," said API President and CEO Jack
Gerard. "The president's concerns about the sensitive Sand Hills
area of Nebraska have been addressed. There are no more excuses.
Mr. President, let's get this energy and job creating project
Brian McManus, a spokesman for the Nebraska Department of
Environmental Quality, said the pipeline's new route has as much
as nine months of public comment and review to go before it gets
a final decision from Heineman. The proposal is currently open to