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Keystone XL Pipeline Political Tug of War Rages On

Completion of the Keystone XL Pipeline is unlikely to get a green light anytime soon.

Now in its third year of consideration by the U.S. State Department, the issue continues to be a hot-button topic mired in a political tug of war. All signs indicate that the issue will linger through the 2016 presidential election. The entire field of Republican candidates support its completion and the current front-runners on the Democratic side being are opposed to it.

What many Americans likely don’t know is that most of the project is already completed. The first section — a 1,179-mile, 36-inch-diameter crude oil pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, Neb. was completed in 2010. A second, 300-mile stretch from Steele City to storage and distribution facilities in Cushing, Okla. was finished in 2011. A third section — a 487-mile connection from Cushing to refineries in Port Arthur, Texas and to Houston — is underway and expected to be complete sometime next year.

The final piece of the project — essentially a shorter route between Hardisty and Steele City — is what remains in question.

In fact, a CBS reporter recently grilled a White House spokesman over the State Department’s long delays in reviewing the project suggesting in his questioning that Congress had just two months to review the Iran nuclear deal.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper continues to press President Barack Obama to green light the Keystone XL Pipeline, calling it a “no brainer.”

Environmentalists and other activists have pressed Obama to block the pipeline. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had remained silent on the issue until the recent U.S. visit by Pope Francis. As the Pope was talking about climate change with U.S. political figures, Clinton broke her silence for the first time and said she opposes the pipeline completion, according to the Washington Post.

Recent survey data by Harris Polls shows that about 67 percent of American voters are concerned about delays to the pipeline, that it could hurt the economy, according to a report in 660News.com. Another report of the polling data by youroildandgasnews.com shows that 78 percent of respondents believe Keystone XL Pipeline will help create jobs and keep more money here in the U.S.

One estimate put the job creation associated with the pipeline at 42,000 and $2 billion in wages that would be poured into the U.S. economy.

As the political forces continue to wrestle with this issue, we continue to support infrastructure that strengthens our industry and protects good-paying jobs for hardworking families.