Manchin Speaks Out About ‘Political Football’ Pipeline Treatment - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Manchin Speaks Out About ‘Political Football’ Pipeline Treatment

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -

Senator Joe Manchin spoke out in a hearing of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee Tuesday, calling the treatment of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline a "political football."

The proposed pipeline would connect to oil sources in central Canada to several refineries across the United States, eventually leading all the way to the Gulf Coat.

"It makes so much common sense that you want to buy (oil) off your friends and not your enemies," Senator Manchin said regarding the proposed oil pipeline, which would span over 2,000 miles across the United States.

Critics of the proposed pipeline have expressed concerns over the environmental risks posed by locating such a pipeline over fragile wetland ecosystems and large fresh water reserves necessary for human consumption and agriculture.

Proponents of the pipeline cite America's increasing need for greater supplies of oil, and the relatively comfortable political relationship between Canada and the U.S. as compared to other major oil producers.

Furthermore, argue those who favor the pipeline, such a massive construction project would offer a significant amount of jobs to America's seemingly stagnant economy – estimates as high as 20,000 or more new jobs have been cited by industry experts.

In his State of the Union address on January 18, President Obama publicly rejected the application to construct the pipeline, stating that the proposed deadline did not allow enough time to fully assess the potential risks and benefits of the construction.

In a press release issued by Manchin Tuesday, the Senator cited expert testimony stating that the Canadian oil sands – the source of oil that would be transported through the Keystone XL pipeline – would be developed regardless of the pipeline's construction, as a reason that it was necessary to make the energy resources and jobs available to American consumers.

Manchin and 43 other Senators have announced plans to cosponsor a bill which would grant congressional approval for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.