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Supporters lay case for Keystone XL

March 11, 2013 at 5:39 AM

WASHINGTON, March 11 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama could garner more union support to compensate for environmentalists' frustration by backing Keystone XL, project supporters say.

A U.S. State Department assessment of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada said there were few overall environmental risks with the project. Its assessment, however, said developments in the U.S. energy sector and transit options should be considered against the project.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce spokesman Matt Letourneau told Washington newspaper The Hill the report puts the momentum for Keystone to win final approval.

"I think we've really reached a point where sort of the pro side has won mainstream opinion on this. I think you're even starting to see some of the commentators on the left point out this might not be the fight the environmentalists want to fight," he said.

Supporters of the project say it would enhance North American energy security while providing a significant boost to the regional economy. Detractors cried foul over the report's assessment over the environmental effects of Keystone XL.

Marty Durbin, executive vice president of the American Petroleum Institute, told The Hill the loss of green supporters still leaves Obama with a solid union footing, however, if he backed the pipeline.

"The building and construction trades are the president's base," he said.

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