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OTHER VIEW: Case for Keystone strengthens

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opinion Mitchell, 57301

Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

Add Warren Buffett to the list of people who say the Keystone XL pipeline should be given the go-ahead.

And it's a list that's getting longer by the week:

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• Last month, the U.S. House voted 293-127 for a transportation bill that mandates the building of the pipeline. Some 69 Democrats joined 224 Republicans in the vote, a bipartisan and veto-proof majority that's rare on such a high-profile issue.

The vote proved that "the pipeline has broad and bipartisan support in Congress and among the American people," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said at the time.

• In March, a bipartisan majority in the U.S. Senate also voted to approve construction of the pipeline.

The vote was 56-42, and it included 11 Democrats (including Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D.). Opponents didn't get any Republican votes.

Despite that majority, the measure failed, because it didn't get the 60 votes it needed to overcome a Senate filibuster.

Nevertheless, "this is a project that got majority support in the Senate," said Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., the bill's primary sponsor.

"We are making progress."

• Last year, Nebraska's governor and Legislature expressed their concerns about the pipeline, especially the pipeline's potential impact on the Sandhills and Ogallala Aquifer regions.

And when President Barack Obama refused to approve the pipeline, he cited Nebraska's concerns.

So it matters that a few weeks ago, "Nebraska lawmakers voted 44-5 to give final approval to a bill that will let Nebraska proceed with a $2 million study to find a route for TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline through the state," as the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal-Star reported.

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman later signed the measure.

Basically, the Nebraska state government is fine with a pipeline that skirts the state's environmentally vulnerable areas. And if Nebraska lawmakers no longer object, then by rights the State Department and the president should drop their opposition, too.

• "A solid majority of Americans think the U.S. government should approve of building the Keystone XL pipeline, while 29 percent think it should not," the Gallup polling organization reported in late March.

• As for Buffett, the Fox Business Network asked him Monday whether he'd support the pipeline if it avoided Nebraska's environmentally sensitive areas.

"I'm not an expert, but it certainly seems like it makes sense to me," he answered.

"There are an awful lot of pipelines running in the United States and net, they've certainly been a huge plus for the country."

So, as a blogger for EnergyTomorrow.org put it, "Let's recap:

"A majority in both houses of Congress supports the Keystone XL. The Nebraska Legislature supports the Keystone XL. The governor of Nebraska supports the Keystone XL. The American people support the Keystone XL."

Now, it's the president's turn.

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