U.S. Chamber of Commerce ups lobbying for Keystone XL

Sept. 29, 2011 at 3:35 PM
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DETROIT, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said it has launched a lobbying effort in seven states for government approval of the $13 billion Keystone XL oil pipeline project.

Matt Letourneau, director of communications and media at the Chamber's Institute for 21st Century Energy, said Wednesday an "education and engagement" campaign had begun in Midwestern states that would be most affected by the 1,660-mile underground pipeline, called the Keystone XL pipeline, that would connect oil wells in Alberta, Canada, with refineries and delivery stations in Illinois, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas, The Detroit News reported Thursday.

Although opposed by environmental groups for fueling the country's dependence on foreign oil, the project is expected to create 3,000 construction jobs in Michigan by 2020, the Chamber said.

The U.S. State Department has indicated it will decide on the merits of the pipeline by the end of the year.

Like many projects, it pits jobs against environmental concerns.

"We're looking at a pipeline that will strengthen a crippling reliance on imported oil," said Hugh McDiarmid Jr., director of communications at the Michigan Environmental Council.

"The Canadian tar sands oil that would be carried by the pipeline is shamefully environmentally destructive, increasingly expensive and an anchor on Americans' efforts to create a more vibrant, diverse set of energy options," he said.

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