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Published January 24, 2013, 05:42 PM

Keystone XL Pipeline Gains Support

There is a strong push in Washington right now to try to convince President Obama to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Senators John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp are among more than 50 other senators who have signed a letter urging quick approval. The Keystone XL pipeline would not pass through North Dakota but Senator Hoeven says it would be close enough to allow oil companies to access it to transport oil out of the Bakken.

By: David Schwab, WDAZ

There is a strong push in Washington right now to try to convince President Obama to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Senators John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp are among more than 50 other senators who have signed a letter urging quick approval. The Keystone XL pipeline would not pass through North Dakota but Senator Hoeven says it would be close enough to allow oil companies to access it to transport oil out of the Bakken.

A section of the TransCanada Keystone pipeline already runs through Eastern North Dakota. A proposed 2,000 mile expansion would cross six states including Montana and South Dakota. Hoeven: "It's about more energy, it's about more jobs, national security, not getting our oil from the middle east."

The proposed pipeline and would allow Bakken oil producers to tap into a new system to transport their oil to refineries. David Flynn, UND Professor: "It potentially means lower transportation costs getting oil to the depots getting oil eventually to the refineries."

UND Economist David Flynn says the new pipeline could bring down the cost of gas but estimates it would be only by about five to ten cents per gallon, though it could also create jobs. Flynn: "But those are largely going to be temporary jobs. A significant share of those are largely going to be temporary jobs while construction is going on." With greater pipeline access in the Bakken, it gives production there greater staying power, with fewer traffic problems in the oil fields.

Senator Hoeven: "It makes a big difference for our state in terms of taking trucks off the road. 500 trucks a day." More trucks off the road means fewer infrastructure needs and ultimately fewer road repairs. Flynn: "Congestion on roads, deterioration of roads could potentially be abated." Flynn says he does expect the proposed pipeline to be approved eventually but there could be a few more hiccups along the way.

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