(CNN) – When President Barack Obama visits Ellicott Dredges Friday in Baltimore, he'll announce he's signed a presidential memorandum meant to hasten federal permitting processes, thereby creating jobs.
But the owner of the company, Peter Bowe, has another idea for getting Americans to work: approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, a project Republicans say would create jobs and foster energy independence but some Democrats argue would pose serious environmental risks.
In his testimony Thursday before a subcommittee of the House Small Business Committee, Bowe argued his company, which creates products for dredging the bottom of bodies of water, stands to benefit if the pipeline is finally approved.
"The oil sands in Alberta are one of the largest markets worldwide for dredging equipment," Bowe said in prepared testimony before the agriculture, energy and trade subcommittee, which was first reported by the website Buzzfeed.
"For us, it's all about jobs, not construction jobs for the pipeline itself, but ongoing jobs every year for decades to come, all related to the production of oil from the Alberta oil sands deposits," Bowe continued. "This oil needs the Keystone pipeline."
The Obama administration initially rejected a permit for a portion of the Keystone pipeline in January 2012 after Nebraska's governor, a Republican, complained it would cross the vital Ogallala Aquifer in his state.
While the entire 1,700 mile pipeline was not approved, Obama in March 2012 moved to fast-track the southern portion of the pipeline that runs from Oklahoma to the Gulf. TransCanada, the company building the pipeline, began construction on that portion in August.
Opponents of the northern leg say there's too high a risk for potential water and soil contamination from the 500,000 to 700,000 barrels of crude oil that would traverse the pipeline each day. Critics also say the type of oil from the tar sands would release more greenhouse gases than the average transportation fuels sold or distributed in the United States.
A recent report by the State Department said the 800-mile Keystone pipeline expansion should have no significant effect on the environment along its proposed route, causing supporters to ratchet up pressure on Obama to approve it.
While Obama has not yet taken a position on the pipeline, his administration is expected to issue a decision on expanding the project in coming months.
"We urge you to approve the Keystone pipeline as expeditiously as possible," Bowe said in his testimony, noting that oil from Canada would be superior both politically and environmentally than a product from other countries like Venezuela.
Obama will visit Ellicott Dredges after touring an elementary school in Baltimore, and after his stop at the company will head to a community center.