LIMA — Often on different sides of issues, Lima Mayor David Berger and state Rep. Matt Huffman came together Monday to kick-off an advocacy initiative in support of an oil pipeline from Canada to Texas. The two will start drumming up support in Northwest Ohio for the Keystone Pipeline. From the Allen County Museum on Monday, they announced the new Northwest Ohio Industry and Labor Association.“We think there has to be some advocacy for maintaining and promoting the oil industry in the state of Ohio,” Huffman said. “This effort was specifically focused on the Keystone Pipeline and the importance that opening that pipeline would have not only for the United States, but how that may affect jobs and industry here in Northwest Ohio.”“Clearly not only are we in a place where oil refining has taken place for over a century, we are also the pipeline center of Northwest Ohio as well,” Berger added. “This industry has helped build our community, it continues to provide a tax base in our community and is a critical piece of the industrial landscape of Northwest Ohio.”Three of the state's four oil refineries are in Northwest Ohio: Lima, Findlay and Oregon. Berger and Huffman will ask other elected officials, labor groups and residents in Northwest Ohio to support a mission statement they drafted jointly. “The industry has provided jobs, tax base, economic development, and critical resources for the transportation and manufacturing sectors,” a portion of the statement reads. “The opening of the pipeline will help create and retain jobs in Northwest Ohio, as well as increase the international trading relationship between the United States and Canada and stabilize our nation's energy portfolio.”TransCanada, the pipeline's builder, announced Monday it will move ahead with part of the pipeline that does not need federal approval. The company said it will build a pipeline from Oklahoma that will move oil to refineries and terminals in Texas. The full project was rejected by the President Barack Obama last month.Berger said it is important to mention the existing relationship the area has with Canadian company Husky Energy. Speaking to criticism that the pipeline would be an environmental problem, Berger said it is a transportation system that works. “In addition to that, there is a natural resource in Canada, which is critical to the long-term energy interest in the United States,” he said. City Finance Director Steve Cleaves, who previously worked in the oil industry, added that pipelines are the safest method of transporting energy products, especially crude oil. It is essential, he said, to help the energy shortage and keep prices stable.“There is a lot of oil in Canada and that oil will be produced and it will be sold in the market,” he said. “It is only the question of, ‘Is that oil coming into the United State and Midwest, including the state of Ohio, or is it going to be exported overseas?'”You can comment on this at www.limaohio.com.