Mar 1, 2013

Kent Hoover, Washington Bureau Chief
The Bisiness Journals

The Obama administration inched closer today to approving the Keystone XL pipeline — the State Department issued a draft environmental impact statement on the project.

The document doesn’t make any recommendations on whether the pipeline should be approved — the department is waiting for public comments.

But supporters of the pipeline liked what they read, and opponents were disappointed.

Business groups that favor the project see the report as a good sign that President Barack Obama will grant a permit for the pipeline. The project would bring crude oil from Canada’s tar sands to Gulf Coast refineries.

"No matter how many times KXL is reviewed, the result is the same: no significant environmental impact," said Marty Durbin, executive vice president of the American Petroleum Institute.

The State Department’s analysis "puts this important, job-creating project one step closer to reality," he said.

The pipeline "represents a tremendous opportunity to create jobs and provide our country with energy security," said Chip Yost, assistant vice president of energy and resources policy for the National Association of Manufacturers. He called the State Department’s draft report "a step in the right direction toward final approval of this important project."

Environmentalists, however, contend the report is a step backward because it minimizes the environmental damage the project could cause.
"Mining the tar sands would be a disaster for our climate," said Danielle Droitsch, Canada project director for the Natural Resources Defense Council. "Piping it through the heartland would put our ranchers and farmers at risk. And sending it to the Gulf only makes our country a dirty oil gateway to overseas markets."

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