Montana's senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus joined North Dakota Senator John Hoeven in leading a bipartisan group of 18 senators today in calling for a meeting with President Obama to urge action on the Keystone XL Pipeline project. Montana Senator Jon Tester joined the call as well.
"The election is over, people want us to work together to create jobs, and one sure way we can create jobs right now is by moving forward with construction on the Keystone XL Pipeline," Baucus said. "We've spent more than four years producing studies and addressing environmental and property concerns - there's no excuse to keep Keystone jobs on hold any longer."
"A responsibly built Keystone XL Pipeline will create good Montana jobs and increase America's energy security," Tester said. "Montanans want this project to move forward with respect for private property rights and the highest safety standards, and I'll keep pushing to get it built - and built right."
"The Keystone XL Pipeline represents not only thousands of jobs and growth for the nation's economy, but also a big step toward American energy independence," Hoeven said. "We can become energy independent in America within five to seven years, but we must commit to moving forward with important projects like the Keystone XL Pipeline."
Earlier this week, the International Energy Agency predicted the United States is on track to surpass Saudi Arabia as the world's largest oil producer in about five years and will become self-sufficient in energy production by 2035. The Keystone XL Pipeline would carry Montana and North Dakota oil from the Bakken and other oil-bearing formations.
The following Senators joined Baucus, Hoeven and Tester's letter: Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), David Vitter (R-La.), Jim Webb (D-VA), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio).
Complete text of the letter follows below.
November 16, 2012
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20500-0003
Dear Mr. President:
With the elections of 2012 behind us, we write to remind you of the continuing importance of the Keystone XL Pipeline. We want to work together to keep creating jobs, and Keystone XL is one vital piece of the puzzle. We would like to meet with you in the near future to discuss this important project.
Setting politics aside: Nothing has changed about the thousands of jobs that Keystone XL will create. Nothing has changed about the energy security to be gained through an important addition to the existing pipeline network built with sound environmental stewardship and the best modern technology. Nothing has changed about the security to be gained from using more fuel produced at home and by a close and stable ally. And nothing has changed about the need for America to remain a place where businesses can still build things.
We hope that you will follow through on your directive of March 22, 2012, to federal agencies to move forward vital energy infrastructure like Keystone XL. The state of Nebraska is nearing completion of the new pipeline route within Nebraska. With that process near completion, we look forward to an affirmative determination of national interest soon.
We then urge you to issue a Presidential Permit immediately afterward.
Thank you for your consideration, and we look forward to your response.
Max Baucus (D-Mont.)
Jon Tester (D-Mont.)
John Hoeven (R-N.D.)
Richard Lugar (R-Ind.)
Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
Kent Conrad (D-N.D.)
Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas)
Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)
Mark Pryor (D-Ark.)
David Vitter (R-La.)
Jim Webb (D-VA)
John Barrasso (R-Wyo.)
Mike Johanns (R-Neb.)
Kay Hagan (D-N.C.)
Mark Begich (D-Alaska)
Joe Manchin (D-W.V.)
Rob Portman (R-Ohio)