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Illinois Congressmen Call On Obama To Approve Keystone Pipeline Expansion

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio.

Illinois Congressmen John Shimkus and Rodney Davis renewed their calls Friday for President Obama to approve an expansion to the Keystone Pipeline.

The two Republicans touted legislation passed this month that they hope will put pressure on the president to sign off on the portion of the pipeline that crosses the US and Canada border.

“The bottom line is: bigger pipe, more crude oil, access to our markets and our refineries," Shimkus said. "If you understand supply and demand – the more supply and demand stays the same, then prices go down and everyone benefits.”

The pipeline currently runs through Missouri and Southern Illinois. Shimkus and Davis say the expansion would mean more jobs for their districts.

The total number of jobs the expansion would create varies greatly by source – from the State Department’s 5,000 to 6,000, to the number Davis and Shimkus put forth: 42,000.

“Thousands of those jobs would be for operating engineers that are sitting idle at their union hall right now," Davis said. "Thousands of jobs would be for other members of organized labor. This is an opportunity to put Americans back to work.”

It puts the president in a predicament between two of his biggest supporters: unions that want the jobs, and environmental groups that are adamant the expansion be opposed.

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter@csmcdaniel