Today, Senator Dick Lugar (R-Ind) continued his efforts to authorize construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
"Given the multiple crises in the Middle East, and the certainty that threats to oil supplies are not limited to the current Iran situation, President Obama did not act in our national interest when he rejected approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Even his own Energy Department says that Keystone would help lower gasoline prices," Lugar said. "After more than three years of State Department review, one must conclude that it was Presidential politics, not lack of time which led the President to reject the pipeline."
Lugar's comments came at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to examine the nomination of Ambassador Carlos Pascual to be the first Assistant Secretary of State devoted exclusively to energy. Ambassador Pascual did not participate in the previous Keystone XL application but would be a key figure in a reapplication. Lugar has consistently advocated for robust diplomatic engagement on energy security.
"Our first priority is to override President Obama's unwise decision to reject affordable and reliable oil through Keystone XL," Lugar said. "However, [Ambassador Pascual] you will be responsible for any future application and will need to restore confidence in the State Department's independence from White House politics. I would like you to share with us today specific steps you will take to ensure an expeditious review of any new Keystone XL application.
"Delays by the Obama Administration are already taxing American motorists. If the State Department had acted within a reasonable time frame to approve the application, then Keystone XL would most likely already be delivering surplus oil supplies from Cushing to Gulf Coast refineries and would soon be delivering Canadian and U.S. Bakken oil to American motorists."
Lugar is one of the authors of Senate legislation to override President Obama's rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring up to 830,000 barrels of Canadian and U.S. oil to refineries on the Gulf Coast for distribution into the U.S. fuel pool. The Hoeven-Lugar-Vitter legislation received bipartisan majority support with 56 Senators voting in favor of it on March 8, 2012. Lugar has committed to continuing efforts to pass the legislation.