Four and a half years. Approval by 10 federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency. Study upon study demonstrating the economic and energy independence benefits to our nation. Bi-partisan support.
And yet, despite the campaign promises of the President, a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline continues to sit, and the only thing seemingly preventing a commitment is a desire to placate environmentalists who care more about publicity for their absurd protests than the bi-partisan facts supporting the project.
But now, as Christopher Knittel of Bloomberg News points out, it's time to face reality.
While the President continues to side with eco-extremists through inaction - extremists that believe construction of the pipeline will mean "game over" for the climate, extremists that hope people "go crazy" and "chain themselves to the White House fence" in order to stop construction - our nation continues to suffer the consequences, missing out on progress that would result in tens of thousands of jobs, hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil per day, and countless opportunities for revenue.
Reality reveals a different story. The Keystone pipeline is a clear economic and environmental winner, not the end game that radical activists claim it will be.
First, pipelines in general, despite their negative connotation in the media and amongst fringe groups, are among the safest, most environmentally friendly forms of energy transportation in existence.
Billions of gallons of crude oil and petroleum-based fuels are safely transported across America by pipeline each year. On the rare occasion that a leak does occur, they are minor and easily contained. In over 80% of pipeline spills, leaks involve fewer than 50 barrels of oil, while a vast majority involves fewer than three.
Second, original opposition to the pipeline's construction focused on a proposed route through an aquifer in Nebraska. Since then, a more environmentally friendly route has been proposed causing environmentalists to shift their focus to a perceived threat of global warming.
In other words, no matter what is done to appease the opposition, they will continue to shift the goalposts in an attempt to stop progress on Keystone.
Don Canton, a spokesman for Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) surmises that, "After four years, the Keystone XL pipeline is perhaps the most exhaustively reviewed projects of its kind ever and already includes a climate review".
Meanwhile, Michael Whatley, Vice-President of the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA), testified in front of Congress that he supports the new pipeline route, stating that his studies demonstrate "that the Keystone XL pipeline will be one of the safest pipelines ever constructed".
And of course, there are the American people who have spoken. A clear majority, at 70%, say build the pipeline.
The choice seems pretty clear to most Americans. Will the President ignore both the American people and scientific facts, and continue to let far-left protestors influence his decision-making from the White House?
It's time to build.