Dr. Boozman's Check-up

At the end of last week, the State Department released its latest draft report on the environmental impact of the Keystone XL Pipeline. To the surprise of no one, it finds there would be no significant environmental impact along the proposed route to refineries in Texas. It also noted that other options to get oil from the Canadian tar sands to refineries on the Gulf Coast would be far more damaging for the environment.

The State Department was required to conduct a new environmental analysis after the project's route though Nebraska was modified in order to assuage Governor Dave Heineman’s concerns over the previously proposed route. The Governor supports the new route which checks off one more box on President Obama’s list of requirements.

The release of the draft report started a 45-day comment period, after which the State Department will issue a final environmental report. This is the final step before Secretary of State John Kerry will have to make a recommendation about whether the pipeline is in the national interest. The final report is merely a formality since study after study has shown that the project can be constructed and operated in an environmentally safe manner. I would be surprised to see the final report say anything to the contrary of that.

The Arkansas Congressional delegation is 100 percent behind the project. Keystone means jobs in the Natural State, so we have been working aggressively to speed the approval process. Most recently, Senator Pryor and I joined a bipartisan group of our colleagues to urge Secretary Kerry not to drag the decision out longer than it needs to be. It has already gone on too long. Let’s give our economy a boost by building the Keystone pipeline.