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Obama Will Help Decide Oil Pipeline Permit

November 2, 2011, 9:55 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Obama Will Help Decide Oil Pipeline Permit
SIOUX FALLS, SD - President Barack Obama is looking into the oil pipeline that would cut through South Dakota.

The President told local TV stations from Nebraska and Texas that he will play a part in making the decision on Transcanada's Keystone XL pipeline.

The State Department will decide whether to grant the Presidential Permit needed for the project, but Obama says it won't be without his blessing.

Transcanada has already built one oil pipeline through South Dakota, but the company's second pipeline Keystone XL, is being met with a lot more national opposition and interest.

"The State Department has a lengthy process they have to go through," President Obama said in an interview with KTRK-TV from Houston, TX.

President Obama talked about the pipeline this week with local TV stations from Nebraska and Texas that were invited for interviews at the White House.

"I think there are a number of factors we're going to have to take a look at including whether this threatens the aquifers and the drinking water in states like Nebraska where this might run through. We're going to look at all the information and then I'm going to make a decision based on what's best for the American economy and the American people," Obama said.

"We think that the environmental threats that this pipeline poses are huge considerations that he has to make," Pete Carrels with the South Dakota Sierra Club said.

Carrels says the President should focus more on the environmental concerns of Keystone XL rather than the jobs and added taxes the pipeline could bring to the country.

"We think that the environmental considerations are the primary considerations here. The threats to land and water resources in fact do affect jobs that already exist in this state," Carrels said.

A spokesman for Transcanada says he agrees with the President's comments, saying the company is building the Keystone XL to ship North American oil in the safest way possible.

"He wants to ensure the safety of the pipeline, and as we've outline for over three years now, we believe we are building the safest pipeline in the United States," Transcanada spokesman Terry Cunha told KELOLAND News Wednesday.

But, ultimately, it will be up to Obama to decide whether the pipeline is safe enough to earn the Presidential Permit.

Transcanada still expects a decision on its permit by the end of the year.

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