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Legion urges president to reconsider pipeline delay

Pointing out that unemployed veterans need jobs now, the national commander of The American Legion is encouraging President Obama to speed-up production of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline.

“We are very disappointed that President Obama is delaying the approval for this needed project,” said National Commander Fang A. Wong. “This project alone has the potential to create 20,000 construction and manufacturing jobs and stimulate related business activity that could lead to at least 250,000 permanent jobs. Returning veterans are disproportionately unemployed and would undoubtedly benefit from these jobs. Moreover, the United States must reduce its reliance on energy imports that can be disrupted by foreign conflicts, terrorism or piracy.”

The $7 billion privately funded pipeline would carry an estimated 700,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada, the Dakotas, Montana and Oklahoma to Gulf Coast refineries. It has undergone years of environmental review but must be approved by the State Department since it would cross an international border. The oil would be extracted from Canada’s tar sands. Last summer, delegates to The American Legion’s 93rd National Convention in Minneapolis passed Resolution 107 in which they urged all segments of the U.S. government to pursue and grant all required permits for the proposed pipeline “without further delay.”

“President Obama clearly cares about helping unemployed veterans,” Wong said. “He should be commended for recently signing the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act. But the truth is that unemployed veterans need jobs now and the Keystone XL Pipeline has widespread support among members of both parties and unions, who see this as an opportunity for true ‘shovel-ready’ jobs. We urge the president to put our nation’s interests first. Approve the pipeline.”

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who favors the project, pointed out on Fox News today that Canada will likely extract the oil whether the United States approves the project or not. “That oil will be produced, it just won’t go here. It will go to Asia or elsewhere.”

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Media contacts: John Raughter, 317-630-1253, cell 317-441-8847 or Marty Callaghan, 202-263-5758, cell 202-515-8644.