FARGO, N.D. (AP) — The State Department report that found no major environmental objections to construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline came as no surprise Friday to both proponents and opponents of the project in energy-rich North Dakota.
The state's congressional delegation said the findings should give President Barack Obama no reason to hold back the long-delayed pipeline, which would travel through Montana and South Dakota before reaching Nebraska.
"It's appalling this process is taking so long," said North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat. "Not only is it unacceptable, but it's embarrassing that we cannot approve a pipeline application in the time it took us to fight World War II."
Landowners in southeastern North Dakota who live near the first Keystone pipeline said they were disappointed with the review, but it was not unexpected. The report was the fifth environmental analysis on the project since 2010.
Bob Banderet, who lives between Oakes and Cogswell, said he didn't expect the report to raise too many red flags after high-profile train derailments involving crude oil trains in North Dakota and Canada. He said he wouldn't be surprised if the pipeline is approved.
"I was putting a little hope in this study, if maybe they found a few more things," said Banderet, who lives within a mile of the original pipeline. "I'm afraid the ball is certainly rolling downhill again."
Banderet lives close to a pumping station that leaked more than 14,000 gallons of oil in May 2011 and said it's "not if but when" it will happen again.
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