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Arkansas - At Welspun, Griffin, Crawford & Cotton Urge Obama to Approve Keystone Pipeline

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Location: Little Rock, AR

n Little Rock on Thursday, Republican U.S. Reps. Tim Griffin and Rep. Rick Crawford were joined by Tom Cotton, the GOP nominee for the 4th District U.S. House seat, to urge President Obama to approve the Keystone pipeline, which they say means jobs for companies in Arkansas like Welspun Tubular.

It's a familiar refrain from the state's congressional delegation, which has repeatedly urged Obama to approve the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline. U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor and U.S. Rep. Mike Ross, both Democrats, have also released statements panning Obama's decision earlier this year to reject the $7 billion project proposed by Calgary-based TransCanada.

The pipeline would carry oil derived from tar sands in western Canada to refineries in Texas, passing through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma.

TransCanada has said the pipeline could create as many as 20,000 jobs over two years, a figure opponents say is inflated. A State Department report last summer said the pipeline would create up to 6,000 jobs during construction.

The project has drawn attention in Arkansas because a Little Rock plant operated by India-based Welspin Tubular would provide materials for the project. In December, Welspun said it would lay off 60 temporary workers due to the project's delay.

Obama has said he rejected the pipeline not on its merits, but on the "arbitrary nature" of a deadline set by a Republicans to make a decision on the matter. Obama said the deadline "prevented a full assessment of the pipeline's impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment."

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