Approve the Keystone pipeline already: Pickens

Friday, 31 Jan 2014 | 2:52 PM ET
T. Boone Pickens: Long natural gas
Friday, 31 Jan 2014 | 2:27 PM ET
BP Capital founder T. Boone Pickens explains why the Keystone pipeline environmental review will not impact gasoline and oil prices. Pickens also weighs in on natural gas and asks the "Street Signs" crew to vote for him in CNBC's Top 25 most influential business leaders poll.

The U.S. government has taken way too much time on whether to approve the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline, T. Boone Pickens, CEO of BP Capital Management, told CNBC on Friday.

"We've been sitting here with this on the table since September of 2008. Damn near six years," Pickens complained in a phone interview on "Street Signs." "Why can't this government make a decision in a reasonable amount of time and move forward?"

T. Boone Pickens
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
T. Boone Pickens

Though the U.S. State Department on Friday issued an environmental review of the pipeline that raised no major objections, a final decision on the project will likely not come for months.

(Read more: Keystone XL oil pipeline clears significant hurdle)

The 1,179-mile pipeline would stretch from Canada to Nebraska, pumping roughly 1 million barrels of oil a day into the United States. But from land rights issues to the environmental impact, concerns over the pipeline have been paramount. Still, supporters of the project contend it would create thousands of jobs and reduce U.S. reliance oil imports from nations that are less friendly than Canada.

"Hey, we've got some obligation to friends in Canada that offer us their oil," Pickens said. "Hey listen, I'm surprised they haven't gone west into China with it. But they haven't."

In the past, Pickens has objected to how the U.S. imports oil through the Strait of Hormuz—a route that connects the several landlocked oil-producing nations in the Middle East with the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea, which requires military safeguards. He noted there wouldn't be a need for forces to secure the Keystone pipeline, though.

"We don't have to have the 5th Fleet. We don't have to have any military protection for this," Pickens said of the Keystone pipeline.

Still, at just 1 million barrels of oil a day, Pickens said the Keystone pipeline wouldn't do much to impact gas or oil prices.

—By CNBC's Drew Sandholm with Reuters. Follow him on Twitter @DrewSandholm.


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