U.S. Senators John Boozman and Mark Pryor of Arkansas have joined a bipartisan coalition of senators who want quick approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
The pipeline would move oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast. Boozman says the group is urging Secretary of State John Kerry to approve the project within the first quarter of this year.
“It’s estimated that about 20,000 jobs would be created [because of the project] and up to about 250,000 jobs total, as it goes forward,” said Boozman. “A lot of the steel that would be in the pipeline and the ancillary equipment would be made by Nucor in Arkansas and Welspun in Little Rock has made a bunch of the pipeline.”
Boozman says companies in Arkansas that could benefit from the proposed pipeline have laid-off workers, because Keystone plans have been under review by federal officials for nearly four and a half years. Senator Pryor says there is a national need for the pipeline.
“The idea here is to get that oil out of the areas of Canada, bring it down into the U.S., we’re going to refine it, burn it in our engines, and use it based on U.S. standards... so you know it’s going to be clean, you know its going to work well, and you know that we’re going to follow the rules,” Pryor said. “I think the alternative would be that [Canada] will build that pipeline over their west coast, or Pacific Coast, and send it all to China and that would put the U.S. at a big disadvantage.”
Both senators say the pipeline would help the U.S. be less dependent on foreign sources of oil. They want Secretary Kerry and President Obama to provide the public with a definitive process for approving the project.