After almost four and a half years of applications, environmental studies and hearings, the proposed Keystone XL pipeline is still in limbo and waiting for approval. In the face of rising energy costs and continued reliance on foreign oil supplies, it is time for President Obama to finally approve this project.

The American people deserve a reliable energy supply that comes from American sources. That means more than just oil, it also means renewable sources such as hydropower and wind. I have and will continue to support an all-of-the-above American energy policy. In South Dakota, we continue to lead by example by taking advantage of our vast wind energy resources and by developing new ethanol technologies.

The Keystone XL pipeline will ultimately decrease our dependence on unstable sources of energy from the Middle East and could create up to 20,000 new American jobs. This project continues to receive strong bipartisan support.

There’s little, if anything, that should be holding the President back from authorizing the start of construction. Environmental analysts have concluded that there are few risks to adding the 1,700 mile pipeline. Even the nation’s biggest labor organization stated that the Keystone XL pipeline would allow workers from all over the United States to benefit from the project.

It’s time for the President and his administration to get serious about our nation’s energy security. This pipeline, once completed, will carry up to 800,000 barrels of oil a day from western Canada to refineries in Texas. The pipeline is shovel ready: easements have been acquired from over 97 percent of landowners in South Dakota and all seven pump station sites have been purchased. But further preparation cannot proceed without approval from the President.

It’s in our nation’s best interest to get this pipeline up and running as soon as possible. Waiting over four years for approval is just too long. I will continue to work to ensure that South Dakotans are heard loud and clear in Washington.

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