- Associated Press - Friday, January 31, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A new report from the U.S. State Department on the long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline has drawn varying reactions in Kansas, where a separate section of the pipeline is already operating.

The State Department on Friday raised no major environmental objections to the proposed $7 billion pipeline from Canada, though the report stops short of recommending its approval. Keystone XL would travel through Montana and South Dakota before reaching Nebraska. The existing spur runs through Kansas and Oklahoma to Texas.

Republicans and business and labor groups have urged Obama to approve the pipeline to create thousands of jobs and move toward North American energy independence. Opponents say the pipeline would carry “dirty oil” that contributes to global warming, and they also worry about a spill.

Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, a Republican, said in a release the State Department report on the Keystone XL pipeline should push the “job-creating, domestic energy-producing project forward.”

“The Keystone XL pipeline would use the existing infrastructure to safely move crude through Kansas,” Moran said. “As the ongoing operation of the original Keystone pipeline illustrates, crude oil can be moved safely over long distances.”

Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo, also a Republican, said “it’s time to build” the pipeline.

“I’ve been urging the administration to move forward on this project, and now that this long anticipated environmental review is complete, it’s time,” Pompeo said in a release.

But Marion County Commissioner Dan Holub said his county and the five other counties where portions of the pipeline are located in Kansas did not see many benefits from the pipeline. Holub said he’d advise neighboring Nebraska and other states along the proposed Keystone XL route to “be afraid.”

“If I was a Nebraska County those guys are passing through, I would make sure they’d make good on their promises for jobs. We were promised jobs when they came through here. But … Marion County didn’t get squat,” Holub said. “They also promised us a lot of business for our hotels and restaurants, and that didn’t materialize either.”

Holub also said he’s concerned about the possibility of an increase in oil flowing through the Kansas section after the XL section is completed.

“I’m hoping we don’t see geysers starting to spring up everywhere now,” he said.

TransCanada spokesman Shawn Howard said in an email he didn’t have an immediate response to Holub’s concerns but was looking into the matter.

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