Nearly three weeks after 28 congressmen wrote to urge Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to carefully consider the environmental impact of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline, 39 members of the House have signed a letter touting the economic benefits of the project. The U.S. State Department is currently debating approval of a building permit for the TransCanda-owned pipeline with a decision expected early next year. “The importance of the Keystone XL pipeline for American energy security and the economy are undeniable,” the representatives wrote in the Dec. 23 letter. “It is noteworthy that the opposition to the pipeline focuses on questionable environmental concerns while failing to recognize the significant overall benefit to Americans.” TransCanada says the nearly 2,000-mile-long project could add 13,000 jobs for Americans and $20 billion in new spending for the U.S. economy. More than half of the signatures were from representatives from states along the proposed Keystone XL route with 4 of 5 representatives in Oklahoma, 2 of 4 in Kansas, and 9 of 32 in Texas signing the letter. As with the Dec. 3 letter asking for further evaluation, none of Nebraska’s congressional delegation signed.

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