While the Obama administration says it needs more time to assess the potential risks surrounding the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, a vast underground network of more than 2 million miles of energy pipeline already traverses the United States.

Several energy experts who represent the oil and gas industry say the controversial Keystone XL, a 1,700-mile pipeline that would run from Canada to Texas, poses less of a risk to the environment than the estimated 50,000 miles of crude oil pipelines already crisscrossing the U.S., a network they say is safe and efficient.

The Obama administration on Wednesday blocked a permit for the $7 billion Keystone XL, at least temporarily, claiming a more thorough review is needed to examine problems it may pose to the nation’s air and water quality. The administration also blamed Republicans for including a provision in a recent tax cut bill that compelled a decision within a 60-day time frame.

The pipeline system, proposed by the Canadian firm TransCanada, would transport crude oil from the Athabasca Oil Sands in northeastern Alberta to multiple locations in the U.S., including as far as the Gulf Coast of Texas. The Keystone XL would go through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma, and the so-called “feeder pipelines” would connect it to rich oil fields in North Dakota and Montana.

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