Sen. Fischer Asks Sec. Kerry to Expedite Approval of Keystone XL Pipeline


      Sen. Deb Fischer and Democrat North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp have released a letter written to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry asking him to expedite approval for the Keystone XL Pipeline.

      Currently the project is waiting for the president's approval before proceeding.

      In their letter, the senators say that after nearly five years, updated plans for the project have passed through the most rigorous environmental and safety tests in history. They add that now is the time to move forward with the project.

      "Sincemy time in the Nebraska Legislature, I have worked in a bipartisan manner toensure a fair process for consideration of this critical energy infrastructureproject," said Fischer. "Through this exhaustive review, the environmental integrity andeconomic benefits of the pipeline have been clearly demonstrated. We're donewith studies, let's start building."

      In January, Gov. Heineman approved the pipeline project following review of the state environmental report. He previously said about the construction of the pipeline in Nebraska, "I knew at the end of the day you're going to make some people happy and some people unhappy but you have to make a decision."

      The State Department also produced an environmental impact report. In the draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, the pipeline project was projected to have a minimal environmental impact along the proposed route.

      Despite the separate report findings, several Nebraskans are still opposed to the pipeline, citing environmental risks for the Ogallala Aquifer as well as landowners that will be affected by the pipeline's construction. They are now clinging to the hope that President Obama will deny the proposal.