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Hoeven tours site of Keystone XL pipe in Gascoyne

GASCOYNE -- Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., received a firsthand look Tuesday at more than $200 million worth of pipe tagged for use in the Keystone XL pipeline and sitting in a remote railroad shipping yard in southwest North Dakota.

"If this pipe gets put in the ground, 500 trucks per day come off (Highway 85)," said Hoeven as he looked over thousands of pieces of pipe stacked near the Gascoyne Materials Handling & Recycling complex several miles east of Scranton. "Think of the impact that would make. Think of the amount of wear and tear and think of the safety that would be improved. We're going to get this project done and get this pipe in the ground, where it should be."

Hoeven toured the site where rows of 80-foot metal pipe is being stored -- as politicians including President Barack Obama, environmentalists and industry leaders battle over the pending approval of the controversial pipeline from Canada to Texas -- with a group of TransCanada officials and journalists.

"Today, between the U.S. and Canada, and a little help from Mexico, we produce 78 percent of the crude (oil) that we consume in this country," Hoeven said. "Keystone XL alone takes that up another 5 or 6 percent. A few more projects like that and we'll produce more oil than we consume. We can then tell the Middle East to sell their oil to someone else like China or India or whoever they want. Then those countries can go referee disputes in the Middle East."

TransCanada project manager Rick Perkins said the pipe -- which has been sitting at the site for more than two years -- is slated to be used in South Dakota. Perkins said more than 200 miles of pipe could be used for another project if the Keystone XL project is ultimately denied.

"What would it mean for Americans to tell OPEC to go fly a kite," Hoeven asked rhetorically. "This is real. Energy independence is going to happen in America."

Bryan Horwath
A Wisconsin native, Horwath has been covering news in the Oil Patch of North Dakota since 2012. Horwath currently serves as the senior agriculture and political reporter for The Dickinson Press and, despite the team's tendency to always let him down, remains a diehard Minnesota Vikings fan.
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