Oil Industry Promotes Keystone XL Among South Carolina Voters

TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline will aid South Carolina, which holds a presidential primary this week, even though it doesn’t pass through the state, the largest U.S. oil industry trade group said.

“About 2,400 companies in 40 states are involved in work to support Canadian oil-sands development,” Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute president, said in remarks prepared for a speech today in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. “Including almost a dozen businesses right here in South Carolina that provide materials, equipment, engineering support and supplies.”

The industry has been stepping up its lobbying for White House approval of the project, which would carry 700,000 barrels of crude oil a day from Canada’s Alberta oil sands to refineries along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico coast. Republicans support it as a source of jobs, while environmentalists say it will contribute to greenhouse-gas emissions and endanger drinking water supplies in Nebraska.

President Barack Obama’s administration in November delayed approving the project until after the 2012 election, saying it wanted to study an alternate route that would take the pipeline away from environmentally sensitive areas.

Congress last month set a 60-day deadline for the administration to issue a pipeline permit. Republican presidential candidates may highlight the job-creating aspect of the project at a Jan. 19 debate in South Carolina, which hosts a Jan. 21 primary.

Gerard’s group started airing a television commercial last week in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio and in the nation’s capital, portraying Keystone XL as Obama’s chance to create jobs.

The group also sent a letter last week to Obama, signed by more than 100 associations, saying the project will “put thousands of Americans to work.”

Supporters are seeking a decision before Obama’s State of the Union speech, scheduled for Jan. 24.

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