Biz presses Obama on Keystone

Powerful business groups hope to raise the political stakes in the Keystone XL pipeline battle by warning President Obama that blocking the project would shake investor confidence in the U.S. economic recovery.

“We are at an inflection point in our economic recovery. Whether economic growth will remain modest or pick up speed will depend on maintaining investor confidence and strengthening America’s competitiveness. The decision on Keystone XL will affect both,” states a letter to Obama released Thursday by the Business Roundtable, the Chamber of Commerce’s energy institute and the National Association of Manufacturers.

“Investor confidence is shaped heavily by perceptions of business climate — whether governments take actions that enable capital investment and job growth,” adds the letter that’s also signed by CEOs of many individual companies, such as AT&T, Boeing and GE.

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The Obama administration is weighing whether to grant a cross-border permit for TransCanada Corp.’s pipeline to bring heavy Canadian crude oil from Alberta across the border en route to Gulf Coast refineries.

The State Department is leading the review but the final decision is slated to come from the West Wing. 

Obama said in June that he would not approve Keystone unless he’s sure it would not “significantly” worsen carbon pollution on a “net” basis.

Some Republicans have also proposed winning the approval of Keystone as part of talks to raise the debt ceiling and end the government shutdown.