WASHINGTON, April 18 (UPI) -- The Keystone XL pipeline represents economic vitality just as much as it does energy security, American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard said.
The U.S. State Department scheduled a meeting in Nebraska to hearing public comments on its draft assessment of TransCanada's planned cross-border pipeline.
Supporters of the pipeline say it will ensure North American energy independence while providing long-term economic and employment opportunities.
"The Keystone XL pipeline is more than a choice about energy. It's a choice about growing our economy and increasing our energy security," Gerard said.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved a measure from U.S. Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb. The Northern Route Approval Act would make it easier for TransCanada to get approval to build the pipeline.
Oil Change International, a group opposing the project, said House members who voted in favor of Terry's measure received, on average, $265,000 in contributions for oil companies versus $44,000 for those opposed.
Opponents of Keystone XL said heavy crude oil for Alberta, the type designated for the pipeline, is more of an environmental threat than conventional oil.