WASHINGTON, April 16 (UPI) -- Building the cross-border Keystone XL will stimulate the U.S. economy and ensure North American energy independence, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said.
The U.S. State Department hosts a meeting Thursday in Nebraska to hear comments on a draft review of a project planned to deliver crude oil from Canadian oil fields to southern U.S. refineries.
Chief Executive Office of the chamber's Energy Institute Karen Harbert said the pipeline was needed as a North American stimulus.
"The increased supply of crude oil from Keystone XL will greatly contribute to our economic and energy security, and our move toward North American energy self-sufficiency," she said. "The economic impact and long term benefits of the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline are significant and vitally important to American jobs and the economy, especially during this time of economic recovery."
The chamber says building the pipeline would create thousands of jobs and generate more than $65 million in sales and use taxes.
Opponents from Bold Nebraska last week launched a petition drive to encourage the U.S. government to deny TransCanada a permit to build the pipeline. Critics say the pipeline is too much of an environmental threat to build.
TransCanada needs U.S. government approval to build the cross-border pipeline.