A bill extending payroll tax benefits signed into law contained a rider on the controversial pipeline that gave U.S. President Barack Obama until Feb. 21 to decide whether the project is in the national interest.
Pipeline company TransCanada wants to build the pipeline to carry oil from tar sands projects in Alberta to refineries along the southern U.S. coast. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, in a letter to Obama, said Keystone XL was a "shovel-ready" project that would not only stimulate the economy but allay U.S. energy security concerns.
"I enthusiastically recommend that your administration reconsider and embrace the considerable potential for economic stimulus represented by this project and approve it immediately," her letter read.
The letter coincided with a visit to the state by executives from TransCanada. In November, TransCanada executives said they were considering whether to build at least part of Keystone to get oil out of the oversupplied oil storage hub in Cushing, Okla.
Fallin said the project would bring in at least $667 million in property taxes and create at least 250,000 new permanent jobs. Critics of Keystone complain its supporters are misrepresenting the economic benefits.