(NBC News) – A group of bipartisan lawmakers have joined with military veterans asking President Obama to approve the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, calling it a matter of national security.
The pipeline would carry tar sands oil from Canada to Texas, and has been met by heated resistance from environmental groups.
The future of the Keystone pipeline hangs on competing interests, the growing needs of energy consumers and landowners like Susan Dunavan who worry about possible oil spills destroying their properties.
“It’s prairie, native prairie and there isn’t much around here,” Dunavan says.
Environmental groups also oppose the pipeline that would carry crude oil more than 1,000 miles from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries.
“At a time when we need to reduce our green house gas emissions, increasing some of the dirtiest fuels in the world is a step in the wrong direction,” says Anthony Swift of the National Resources Defense Council.
In the latest Pew Research poll, 61 percent of Americans now favor the project, and on Capitol Hill Wednesday lawmakers and military veterans pressured President Obama to approve the pipeline for national security reasons.
“Where are we getting our oil right now? From places like the Middle East, Venezuela, countries with interests different than ours, instead of working with Canada. Is that what we really want to do?” asked North Dakota Senator John Hoeven.
State Department reports have found the project will have little environmental impact and it’s expected to create thousands of jobs.
Government agencies have a little over a month to respond to the latest environmental impact statement.
From there, the State Department will draft a final report, but it’s ultimately up to the president whether the project is approved.