A group of 165 business executives of major companies have sent a letter to President Obama stating that, if the Keystone XL pipeline project was rejected, the decision could send the wrong message across to investors and this could have a negative impact on the country’s economic growth.

The CEOs of companies including ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corp., Boeing, AT&T and Caterpillar Inc. addressed the president ahead of his expected decision on whether the pipeline running from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico will be built. They claimed that the project could have far-reaching implications for the national economy and may be crucial for investor confidence and U.S. business competitiveness for years to come.

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The letter acknowledged that the environmental concerns related to the project should be evaluated but pointed out that these risks could be managed. The business leaders also stated that if Keystone XL was operational it could replace heavy crudes that are currently being imported from Venezuela and Mexico.

Keystone XL was proposed by Canadian operator TransCanada and, if approved, it will carry crude from Alberta’s tar sands to the refineries on the Gulf Coast. Because of its scale, the project has been regarded as central both for the industry and for environmental protection organizations, putting the Obama administration on the spot. In his June speech, President Obama stated that he would approve the project only if it did not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.