WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., urged the Obama Administration to approve construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline now that Nebraska has concluded it does not pose an environmental risk.
"I think with one stroke of the pen, this would provide significant economic benefit to the United States," Pryor said Wednesday.
Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman on Tuesday approved a revised route through the state for the pipeline saying it could be built and operated safely.
A year ago, President Obama rejected a proposal that would have taken the pipeline through Nebraska’s Sand Hill region where a spill could have contaminated the Ogallala Aquifer. TransCanada, the pipeline operator, offered the alternative route to avoid the sensitive water resource.
Pryor said he agreed with the administration’s decision to hold off approval of the pipeline while Nebraska reviewed the change. Now that the project has a green light in Nebraska, the federal government should approve it too, he said.
The pipeline would carry about 830,000 barrels a day of oil from Alberta, Canada, to the U.S. Gulf Coast. As an alternative, TransCanada could seek a route from the Alberta tar sands west to the Pacific Ocean.
If that occurs, Pryor said the United States would lose the refinery work and could see the oil end up in China rather than used here.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday the administration is waiting on the State Department to complete its review.