Former President George W. Bush said building the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline is a "no-brainer" for economic growth.

"I think the goal of the country ought to be, 'How do we grow the private sector?' " Bush said at a Pittsburgh luncheon with energy executives, according to DeSmog Blog.

"If private-sector growth is the goal and Keystone pipeline creates 20,000 new private-sector jobs, build the damn thing," Bush said.

The State Department says the proposed Canada-to-Texas pipeline would create 42,100 direct and indirect positions — about 3,900 of them being construction jobs — during the two-year construction phase. The agency says it would contribute 35 permanent jobs after construction.

President Obama, who has questioned Keystone's jobs potential, has said he won't approve the pipeline if it "significantly exacerbates" carbon emissions.

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