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Another view: Move foreward with Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines

Published: Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017 11:03 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017 11:06 p.m. CDT

Among the headlines President Donald Trump made during his first week was one citing his executive order to clear obstacles standing in the way of the proposed Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines.

That is a good start, many may have reacted. Now, let’s move on to accelerating federal action on natural gas pipelines important to the country.

Former President Barack Obama held up the Keystone XL pipeline for much of his term in office, citing environmental concerns. That was despite the fact his own State Department investigated and concluded there were no environmental concerns about the pipeline, intended to bring Canadian oil to the United States.

Obama’s action on the Dakota Access pipeline was more egregious. The oil transportation line already was under construction when, late in his presidency, Obama chose to shut down work solely because of protests against the project.

Good for Trump for ordering federal officials to stand aside and allow construction of both pipelines. They will be better for the environment than other methods of transporting oil, not to mention safer.

During the Obama administration, federal officials consistently “slow walked” permitting and other actions needed to clear the way for construction of pipelines to carry gas produced here to processing facilities and overseas shipping terminals. As a result, a substantial amount of gas in our country has been locked up.

A gas company official put it this way: “Ours is an industry on a leash.”

Of course, considerations of safety, preservation of valuable natural areas and other environmental concerns should not be dismissed. No one has asked the federal government to do that.

But the Obama administration’s policy of hampering any fossil fuel initiatives it could not kill needs to end. If Trump’s order on the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines does not make that clear to federal agencies, the president should pick up his phone or his pen and reinforce his intentions.

– The (Gloversville) Leader-Herald, New York

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