The State Department’s support of a controversial oil-pipeline project is putting pressure on the White House to move forward after three years, despite objections from environmentalists.
A series of public hearings concludes Friday on the Keystone XL pipeline, which would run from Canada’s oil sands in Alberta down through America’s midsection to the Texas Gulf Coast.
So far, the State Department has published reports in favor of the project, which is projected to create 20,000 jobs and reduce the nation’s dependence on overseas oil.
Still, it isn’t an easy decision for the Obama administration because it doesn’t want to disappoint its environmental supporters, who are opposed to the project. The president is expected to make a decision by the end of the year.
“This is a no-brainer,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, told a roomful of pipeline supporters this week, “which means in Washington it’s 50-50.”
Mr. Graham offered three reasons to approve the pipeline. First, it will create jobs, some 13,000 constructions jobs and 7,000 manufacturing jobs. Second, it will increase the nation’s energy supply, and make the country less dependent on overseas oil. Third, Canada is more sensitive to the environmental impact than are Middle Eastern oil countries.
For a nation struggling to find jobs, the pipeline is too good of an opportunity to pass up, Mr. Graham said. That’s perhaps the most likely reason why the Obama administration would shun environmentalists and approve the pipeline project.