Oil official to Obama: Approve pipeline

Jan. 4, 2012 at 8:54 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- A top oil industry official said Wednesday U.S. President Barack Obama must approve the Keystone XL pipeline or face "huge political consequences."

A decision on the pipeline, which would send oil sands crude from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf Coast in Texas, was a GOP-backed provision in the payroll tax cut package Obama signed last month, The Hill reported Wednesday. He was given 60 days to make a final decision.

American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard asked Obama to quickly approve the pipeline at the organization's State of American Energy event Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

"I think it would be a huge mistake on the part of the president of the United States to deny the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline," Gerard said. "Clearly, the Keystone XL pipeline is in the national interest. A determination to decide anything less than that I believe will have huge political consequences."

The Obama administration and White House officials said the president would be forced to reject the project since necessary reviews cannot be conducted under the 60-day timeline.

Environmental groups have opposed the project over concerns about potential aquifer and other environmental damage from oil spills and greenhouse gas emissions.

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