U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) released the following statement today regarding the Obama Administration's decision to deny a permit for the construction of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline:
"By forcing an arbitrary deadline into this year's budget bill, House Republicans tried to short-circuit the environmental review process for the Keystone XL permit. Serious questions remain regarding the safety of the pipeline, and the Obama Administration did the responsible thing by denying the permit within this timeframe. By re-starting the process, the State Department will now have the time it needs to conduct a complete review of this pipeline, and to recommend steps to alleviate potential consequences -- such as increased greenhouse gas emissions and the contamination of groundwater along the pipeline route."
Whitehouse led a letter in July to Secretary Hillary Clinton signed by six other Senators, calling on the State Department to more fully address concerns regarding the route and safety of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline in its environmental review. Whitehouse also signed a letter in October led by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), asking the State Department's Office of the Inspector General to investigate the handling of the environmental review. The Inspector General recently announced that it was initiating such an investigation.