Montana's senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus led a group of Senators today in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner urging the House to take up and pass the bipartisan compromise to advance the Keystone XL Pipeline project. Montana Senator Jon Tester joined Baucus along with Mary Landrieu (LA), Mark Pryor (AR), and Mark Begich (AK) in writing:
"The Keystone XL project is critical to the nation's energy security--it will reduce our dependence on oil from hostile regimes--and it will put thousands of Americans back to work."
"We can't afford to let Montana jobs and American energy security be held up by red tape while critical permitting decisions for the Keystone project are kicked further down the road. This compromise gives us a chance to move the ball forward and American workers are counting on us to seize the opportunity," Baucus said.
"The Keystone XL pipeline can create jobs in Montana now by strengthening our energy security," Tester said. "Now that stronger protections for private property are in place, it's time for the House of Representatives to put Montana jobs ahead of politics and pass this provision. Montanans want this project to move forward in a way that respects private property rights and safety standards, and I hope the House won't stand in their way."
The Keystone XL compromise passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support, 89-10, on Saturday. It would:
* Require the Secretary of State to issue a permit within 60 days to allow the Keystone XL project to move ahead, unless the President publicly determines that it is not in the national interest.
* The permit for Keystone XL would have to contain strong and specific private property and environmental protections and protect states' rights.
Text of today's letter follows below.
December 19, 2011
The Honorable John Boehner
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Mr. Speaker:
On Saturday, December 17, the Senate passed the bipartisan Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011, the Reid-McConnell substitute amendment to H.R. 3630. The bipartisan bill, which passed with 89 votes, will move the Keystone XL pipeline forward. The Keystone XL project is critical to the nation's energy security--it will reduce our dependence on oil from hostile regimes--and it will put thousands of Americans back to work.
This important bill will require the President to make a decision on the pipeline's future within 60 days. It will also protect private property rights and establish a procedure for re-routing the pipeline around sensitive land within the state of Nebraska. Delays or changes to the bill may jeopardize the important shared goal of moving the project forward.
In the interest of America's energy security and economic recovery, we urge the House of Representatives to take up this bill and pass it as soon as possible. Thank you for your consideration.
Max Baucus (MT)
Mary Landrieu (LA)
Mark Pryor (AR)
Jon Tester (MT)
Mark Begich (AK)