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Gazette Premium Content OUR VIEW: Approve the Keystone pipeline (poll)

ed Updated: January 23, 2013 at 12:00 am

A major obstacle to the Keystone XL pipeline disappeared Tuesday when Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman notified President Barack Obama that he has approved plans to build it through his state. It’s potentially good news for the economy and we urge the White House and the State Department to allow construction to commence as soon as possible.

The 1,700-mile pipeline will create jobs and prosperity for Americans while adding a strategic asset in our country’s quest for energy independence from hostile nations and questionable alliances. In announcing his approval, Gov. Heineman — executive of the state Big Green activists told us was most threatened by the pipeline — said Nebraska alone will reap $418 million in economic benefit.

Heineman said his approval resulted from confidence that any potential damage to aquifers would be localized and developer TransCanada would pay for cleanup and reparations.

TransCanada received federal approval last year to begin construction on the southern portion of the project, which is a $2.3 billion segment from Cushing, Okla., to the Gulf Coast. The Obama administration has so far declined to approve the 1,179-mile northern segment.

“Nebraska’s approval of a new Keystone XL pipeline route means there is no bureaucratic excuse, hurdle, or catch President Obama can use to delay this project any further,” said Speaker of the House John Boehner.

Some estimates say the pipeline would deliver up to 830,000 barrels of oil each day to our country. That’s almost 10 percent of what we import each day from countries that mostly hate us.

Construction would immediately create 20,000 high-wage, genuinely “shovel-ready” jobs. In this economy, that’s a big deal.

These jobs would be paid for with proceeds from oil sold for constructive endeavors that move humanity forward — not jobs paid for with money taken by government from hard-working taxpayers and shifted around.

The pipeline would only get better from there. By 2035, Keystone would create an additional 179,000 American jobs, based on estimates from the Canadian Research Institute. States that host the pipeline could collectively receive about $5.2 billion in property tax revenues over the next 100 years. That means better schools, roads, and care for the elderly and indigent. It means more money for windmills and solar panels and other innovations that promise to increase consumer options, lower prices of production and, quite possibly, substantially curb or eliminate petroleum dependence for future generations.

Other than potential negative environmental effects, which are mitigated in development plans, it’s hard to imagine a downside to making more oil available on the world market.

To appease radical environmentalists, President Obama delayed any final decision on the pipeline until after the 2012 election. That’s just politics. The election, mercifully, has come and gone and it’s time to get on with business. The White House no longer needs to appease Big Green and can use the second term, as has previous administrations, doing that which wasn’t politically advantageous during the first term.

Though we have often expressed differences with President Obama’s policies in this column, we believe he wants more jobs, more peace, more prosperity and a better economy for the people of his country. We believe he wants a legacy of success.

Swift approval of the pipeline, with an adequate eye to environmental protection, will nudge our country in the right direction.

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