Montana's Congressman, Denny Rehberg, this week introduced legislation with Rep. Lee Terry to expedite work on the Keystone Pipeline, which would create 1,200 private sector jobs in Montana. H.R. 6164 permits work to begin on the northern portion of the pipeline, while environmental assessment continues in Nebraska. In March, the Obama Administration approved work on southern portions of the privately funded infrastructure project, but nothing north of Nebraska.
"The Obama Administration and its environmental obstructionist allies are doing everything they can to block jobs that will also lower energy prices," said Rehberg, who has been leading the effort to get Montanans to work building the pipeline. "There's just no reason to re-examine the portions that were already reviewed and approved. It defies common sense. It's time to stop playing political games with this popular project."
Earlier this year, President Obama declined to permit the Keystone XL pipeline. He said it was because of route changes proposed in the state of Nebraska. In reality, further delay allowed him to avoid the politically difficult decision of choosing between two of his core constituencies, namely, unions who back the project and obstructionists like the League of Conservation Voters who oppose it. The President was eventually forced to make a decision because of language crafted by Rehberg and signed into law forcing a yes or no decision.
In June, the Obama Administration inexplicably called for a new environmental review for the entire 1,179 miles of Keystone XL pipeline's northern route, instead of just the 88 miles re-routed in Nebraska.
The review is unnecessary after an already exhaustive four-year study of that route. Rehberg's legislation allows construction to begin on the portions of the pipeline that have already been approved.
TransCanada filed for a State Department permit in September, 2008.