Public hearings across the country on the Keystone XL pipeline are generating a robust conversation on the merits of the $7 billion project that would deliver Canadian oil sands crude to U.S. refiners. Which is as it should be.
Forums in Texas, Nebraska, Kansas and Montana have drawn spirited crowds and hundreds of speakers. Others are scheduled in Oklahoma and Washington, D.C. The State Department, which has been reviewing the project's application for three years, is expected to make a decision before the end of the year.
"Americans need the oil, and the oil can come from a friendly and reliable source, the Keystone XL and from Canada," said Tom Nesbitt, one of about 200 speakers at Lincoln, Neb., hearing. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback spoke in Topeka: "Kansas is unique among the states along the XL route in that our section of the pipeline is already in the ground and operational. Our state benefited greatly from the construction jobs related to this project and look forward to the potential of many more permanent jobs as the remainder of the pipeline is completed."
Video from the Topeka public hearing:
And from Nebraska:
Meanwhile, folks are getting into it on the White House website, where visitors are invited to create their own online petition. Check out the pro-pipeline petition here.