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Debate continues over Keystone XL pipeline

by Adam Wilmoth Published: February 13, 2013

Debate continued over the proposed Keystone XL pipeline on Wednesday as the American Petroleum Institute renewed the industry’s push for the project’s approval and the Sierra Club staged its first act of civil disobedience in its 120-year history.

American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Jack Gerard on Wednesday renewed the industry’s push for the Obama administration to approve plans for the Keystone XL pipeline.

“Keystone XL is an excellent opportunity to achieve the president’s vision for good, well-paying jobs,” Gerard said Wednesday during a conference call with reporters. “We call on the president to work with us and approve the Keystone pipeline and put our people back to work for all Americans.”

The pipe is proposed to move oil from Canada, North Dakota and Montana to Cushing on its way to the Gulf Coast.

Also on Wednesday, API released the results of a Harris Interactive survey it commissioned that found that 69 percent of respondents support the plan to build the pipeline, while 83 percent said it would strengthen the country’s energy security and 92 percent said jobs are important when considering the project.

Sean McGarvey, president of the Building and Construction Trades Department at the AFL-CIO, said the project would create 20,000 construction jobs and would support 117,000 new American jobs associated with development of the Canadian oil sands by 2025.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for the U.S. now,” McGarvey said. “We have great faith in the president. We hope he makes this decision quickly we can get our people back to work and feeding their families.”

While the API was holding its conference call, Sierra Club President Allison Chin and others were arrested during a protest outside the White House.

“This call for climate action is important enough that, for the first time in our 120-year history, we have suspended the Sierra Club’s long-standing policy that prohibits civil disobedience,” Chin said in a statement Wednesday. “Today is a one-time event to face arrest in order to elevate discussion about a critical issue.”

The Sierra Club, and other environmental organizations are planning the Forward On Climate Rally, which they are calling “the largest climate-related rally in U.S. history” on Sunday in front of the White House.

The groups are calling for the Obama administration to deny permits required to build the pipeline and to take other steps to

“We’re asking the president to use every resource he has at his disposal — from the bully pulpit to the executive order — to take climate action now,” Chin wrote.

In more Keystone XL-related news, the group that has been trying to stall ongoing construction of the southern leg of the Keystone pipeline on Wednesday released pictures they say show poor welds that would cause the pipe to leak.

Tar Sands Blockade said its members saw light shining into the pipe in Texas in December while they barricaded themselves inside during a protest.


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by Adam Wilmoth
Energy Editor
Adam Wilmoth returned to The Oklahoman as energy editor in 2012 after working for four years in public relations. He previously spent seven years as a business reporter at The Oklahoman, including five years covering the state's energy sector....
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