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Harper makes brief remarks

U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper, of Mississippi’s Third Congressional District was in attendance at Monday’s question and answer event for local legislators, but only spoke briefly.

“I just came for breakfast, and now I’ve got to speak,” Harper said, laughing.

A member of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Harper said focused his remarks on issues related to that committee.

“Energy issues are going to be extremely important,” Harper said of the upcoming congressional session.

He brought up the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, a subject he also discussed before in interviews with The Daily Leader editorial board.

President Obama rejected pipeline’s application in 2012 but a reroute of the pipeline’s path has brought the issue back up for consideration.

“I’m hopeful the president will approve the pipeline this time,” he said.

Pipeline critics originally contended the pipeline route crossed a major Midwest aquifer and Nebraska’s ecologically sensitive Sandhills region, where an oil spill could be devastating. The new route addresses some of these environmental concerns, Harper said.

The congressman further said the pipeline’s construction would produce 20,000 “nearly instant jobs” and help ease gas prices.