Canadian pipeline company TransCanada aims to build the Keystone XL pipeline from oil sands projects in Alberta province to refineries along the southern U.S. coast. The project has become political fodder for critics of U.S. President Barack Obama.
Marty Durbin, executive vice president for the American Petroleum Institute, was quoted by the Financial Times as saying Keystone XL would be a major stimulus for the struggling U.S. economy.
"The public's No. 1 concern is jobs and the economy and this is the biggest shovel-ready project that's out there," he said.
Opponents of the project complain oil from Alberta is one of the dirtiest forms of crude oil. The nature of the oil, meanwhile, causes it to sink in water, creating long-term environmental issues.
Critics complain that supporters of Keystone XL are exaggerating the economic benefits of the project.
The U.S. government needs to sign off on the project because it would cross international borders. A review of the project's plans through Nebraska prompted the U.S. State Department to suggest it couldn't get a review completed until after U.S. presidential elections in November.
A measure signed into law last year regarding payroll taxes included a rider that gave Obama about two months to determine if Keystone XL is in the national interest.
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