The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is ramping up a partnership to support the controversial proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry crude from Canada's oil sands to Texas refineries.
The Chamber is recruiting businesses in Minnesota and other parts of the Midwest to promote North American fuel supplies. Sixteen Minnesota businesses have joined a regional effort to promote the controversial pipeline. The group, Partnership to Fuel America, will campaign in Minnesota and 10 other Midwestern states.
High fuel costs affect customers, from families to truckers, said Dan Dorman, a former Minnesota State Representative and owner of a tire company in Albert Lea.
"Particularly the independent truckers, are hard-hit by those costs, and that impacts our business, impacts the number of people we're able to employ, so there's quite a trickle down from there."
The pipeline company has done a good job of mitigating risks posed by the pipeline, Dorman said. Critics say a spill from the pipeline could contaminate the Ogalalla Aquifer in South Dakota, Nebraska and other states.
Dorman said TransCanada, the company that wants to build the 1,700-mile pipeline, acknowledges environmental risks involved with the plan. But he says for now, the economy needs oil.
"In the long run, people talk about different fuels, renewables, wind, whatever it is," Dorman said. "We need petroleum to help not only our local economy but our nationwide economy. So I think those risks are acceptable."