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It is time to approve the Keystone Pipeline

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Posted: Saturday, March 16, 2013 5:58 pm

Senator John Hoeven continued to push President Barack Obama to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline last week, introducing legislation that would approve the project even if President Obama is not in favor.

We say it’s about time.

Obama and the federal government were right to delay the project over concerns from the state of Nebraska and while waiting for a report from the State Department.

But in recent months, Nebraska approved a route through the state and the State Department released a study showing the pipeline would not have negative impacts.

With those hurdles out of the way, it is time to build the pipeline.

Not only would it benefit North Dakota in creating a way to get oil from the Bakken to refineries in Texas, it would benefit the nation as a whole.

Sen. Max Baucus, a Democrat from Montana, co-sponsored the legislation with Hoeven. Baucus said the issue is not partisan. In fact, Baucus said it is about one thing — jobs.

“At a time when job creation must be our number one priority, approving the Keystone Pipeline is the perfect opportunity to put Montanans, and folks across the country, to work right now,” Baucus said. “American workers cannot afford to wait any longer for Keystone jobs, and there is absolutely no excuse for further delay.”

Last week, Obama made the opposite claim, saying the pipeline would not create permanent jobs. Both men are right.

The pipeline will create jobs, many of them, but they will not last forever. No construction job lasts forever. Whether building a house, paving a road or putting in a pipeline, once the work is finished, that job is done. That’s the nature of construction work.

But in a time where most of the country is facing double digit unemployment, any job, even if it doesn’t last forever, is a good job. Hoeven says the pipeline will create 10,000 jobs.

In North Dakota, we don’t need too many new jobs, but we do need a way to get our oil to the refineries that is easier and better for the environment than trucks and rail cars. The Keystone Pipeline is that answer, and it should be approved now.

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