It’s good to hear that TransCanada has submitted its new application for a presidential permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline. The application comes just weeks after the Nebraska legislature approved a bill to move forward with a new route in that state that avoids the sensitive Sand Hills region.

Even better news would be that the White House, after a long list of excuses that prevented timely approval of the project, is now ready to give the go-ahead – dropping a position that a Washington Post editorial said has “little rational basis.” That analysis is reinforced not only by public opinion, but also by economic and environmental data. For example:

  • Americans support construction of the Keystone XL by nearly a 2-1 margin, according to a recent Gallup poll.
  • A bipartisan, veto-proof majority in the U.S. House of Representatives recently voted to support construction of Keystone XL, the fifth time the House has backed the project. In March, 56 U.S. senators voted in favor of building the Keystone XL.
  • More than 80 percent of Americans believe U.S. policies should support the use of oil from Canada’s oil sands.
  • According to the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, pipelines are the “safest and most-effective” way of transporting oil and natural gas. In addition, a comprehensive environmental assessment from the federal government concluded that the Keystone XL would have only “limited” impacts and be the safest pipeline ever constructed under current regulations.
  • With unemployment still above 8 percent nationwide, the Keystone XL not only would create thousands of new jobs but also would help preserve jobs at U.S. refineries and production sites.
  • While there are many factors that affect the price of gasoline families use to fill up their tanks, approving the Keystone XL would send a strong market signal that more supply is on the way, helping put downward pressure on the global price of crude oil, which accounts for 76 percent of the price paid at the pump. The pipeline could bring upwards of 830,000 barrels per day of Canadian oil from Alberta to U.S. refineries, with approximately 25 percent of the pipeline’s capacity used to deliver oil from North Dakota and Montana.

The application also comes as a new poll finds that Canadians support increased oil sands development by about a 2-1 margin. Among all provinces, the lowest level of support was in Quebec, where a clear majority – 55 percent – still supports development.

API Executive Vice President Marty Durbin said it’s time to approve the Keystone XL:

“The earth hasn’t moved, the geology hasn’t changed, the information remains the same, so there should be no reason for a re-review of KXL. The pipeline will be state of the art and has already been thoroughly examined for more than three years, including three environmental assessments. … The president should take this opportunity to approve the entire pipeline to demonstrate he is serious about an ‘all the above’ energy strategy. There is no legitimate reason for delaying this project any further. … We urge President Obama to support this project that will make us more energy secure.”