Legion encourages Americans to attend public meetings next week concerning the Keystone XL Pipeline, a project that could create 20,000 jobs.

The national commander of The American Legion is encouraging Americans to attend a number of public meetings next week concerning the Keystone XL Pipeline, a proposed Canadian-American oil project that has the support of the nation’s largest veterans organization.

“This project alone has the potential to create 20,000 construction and manufacturing jobs and stimulate related business activity that could lead to at least 250,000 permanent jobs,” said National Commander Fang A. Wong. “Returning veterans are disproportionately unemployed and would undoubtedly benefit from these jobs. Moreover, the United States must reduce its reliance on energy imports that can be disrupted by foreign conflicts, terrorism or piracy.”

The public meetings for the Keystone XL pipeline begins Sept. 26 in Port Arthur, Texas, and Topeka, Kan., and will culminate in Washington, D.C., on October 7. A complete listing of meeting times and places is listed below.

The $7 billion privately funded pipeline would carry an estimated 700,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada, the Dakotas, Montana and Oklahoma to Gulf Coast refineries. It has undergone years of environmental review but still must pass the final step in the permit’s review process. The U.S. Department of State has jurisdiction over the project, which won support from delegates to The American Legion’s 93rd National Convention in Minneapolis through a resolution ( obtainable at http://www.legion.org/documents/resolutions/2011N107.pdf) that was passed there last month.

Locations and times for Public Meetings on Keystone XL Pipeline:

Sept. 26, 4:30 p.m. – 10 p.m: Bob Bowers Civic Center, 3401 Cultural Center Drive, Port Arthur, Texas, 77642, .

Sept. 26, Noon-3:30 p.m. and 4-8 p.m.: Kansas Expo Center, 1 Expo Center Drive, Topeka, Kan., 66612.

Sept. 27, 4:30 p.m -10 p.m.: Dawson Community College Topeka Center Auditorium 300 Community Drive Glendive, Mont., 59330.

Sept. 27, Noon- 3:30 p.m. and 4-8 p.m.: Pershing Center 226 Centennial Mall South Lincoln, Neb., 68508.

Sept. 28, Noon – 3:30 p.m. and 4-8 p.m.: University of Texas Lady Bird Johnson Auditorium 2313 Red River Street Austin, Texas, 78705.

Sept. 29, Noon – 3:30 p.m. and 4-8 p.m.: Best Western Ramkota 920 West Sioux Avenue, Pierre, S.D., 57501.

Sept. 29, 4:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.: West Holt High School (in the Sand Hills region) 100 N. Main Street Atkinson, Neb., 68713.

Sept. 30, 4:30 p.m.- 10 p.m.: Reed Center Exhibition Hall 5800 Will Rogers Road Midwest City, Okla., 73110.

Oct. 7, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.: Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center Atrium Hall 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue Washington, D.C.