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WORDS FROM WASHINGTON

Now is the time to build the Keystone XL Pipeline

After four and a half years of applications, extensive environmental studies and hearings by the Administration, the proposed Keystone XL pipeline is still waiting for President Obama's approval. With energy costs on the rise and American families continuing to feel the pain at the pump, it's past time for President Obama to approve the Keystone pipeline.

Most recently, the pipeline, which would transfer North American oil from Canada through six states and to the Gulf Coast, received yet another green light from the government. The U.S. State Department's review found that the project would have no significant impact on the environment.

It will, however, create 20,000 new shovel-ready American jobs and spur economic growth. It will also reduce our nation's dependence on sources of energy from foreign countries that quite frankly don't like us very much. Most importantly, it won't cost hard working taxpayers a dime and will create additional tax revenue.

It's been over 1,630 days since the project's application was first submitted. Since then, Keystone XL has become one of the most closely examined infrastructure projects in our nation's history. It continues to pass hurdles, despite President Obama's continued attempts to block the pipeline for over four years.

Regardless if Keystone is built here, Canada will continue to move forward and put the economic well-being of its people first by producing and selling its natural resources to customers overseas. The question is, does President Obama want to pass up this opportunity to create new American jobs and lower energy costs for hard working, middle-class families? Or does he want America to continue to stand still, while this North American energy flows west to China?

The fact is, the White House is running out of excuses for continuing to delay approval of a $5.3 billion private investment that has received strong bipartisan support in Congress and has the support of 70 percent of Americans.

It's time to get serious about America's energy security and our national security. It's in our best interest to get this project off the ground without further delay.

Mr. President, now is the time to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

- U.S. Congressman Doc Hastings (R-Pasco) represents Central Washington's Fourth Congressional District.

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