Following nearly five years of study and a fourth favorable State Department environmental review indicating "no significant impact to the environment," U.S. Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Max Baucus (D-Mont.) today introduced bipartisan legislation to approve the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline.
The senators' bill would approve the 1,700-mile, high-tech project under Congress's authority enumerated in the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8. Hoeven last year secured an opinion from the non-partisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) confirming Congress's constitutional authority to approve the project.
The Administration has delayed the project for more than four-and-a-half years, but now that Nebraska, the only state along the route with a concern has approved the path through their state, Hoeven and Baucus have been working cooperatively and with their respective party members to press the Administration to get both a timeline and a favorable decision. Joining them as cosponsors on the bill are Senators Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) Mary Landrieu (D-La.), David Vitter (R-La.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.).
The Hoeven-Baucus legislation authorizes TransCanada to construct and operate the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to the U.S. Gulf Coast, transporting an additional 830,000 barrels of oil per day to U.S. refineries, which includes 100,000 barrels a day from the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana.
"The Keystone XL pipeline project is perhaps the most thoroughly studied and long-delayed project of its kind in U.S. history," Hoeven said. "The State Department's favorable finding in its most recent report makes clear both the good environmental stewardship of the project and the need to begin construction without further delay. It will create tens of thousands of jobs, boost the American economy and raise hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues to help the federal and state governments address their debt and deficit problems without raising taxes. Further, it will help to put us within striking range of the long-sought goal of true energy security."
"This is about one simple thing: jobs," Baucus said. "At a time when job creation must be our number one priority, approving the Keystone Pipeline is the perfect opportunity to put Montanans, and folks across the country, to work right now. American workers cannot afford to wait any longer for Keystone jobs, and there is absolutely no excuse for further delay."
"After five years of review and multiple environmental impact statements, the Keystone XL project has to the most studied pipeline project in U.S. history. All of this unnecessary delay has done nothing to improve our energy security or our economy. We need new infrastructure, we need jobs, we need affordable energy -- Keystone delivers on all of those areas. If the White House can't see that, then it's time for Congress to act," said Murkowski, ranking member on the Senate Energy Committee.
"The decision by President Obama to deny the permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline was flat wrong and puts politics before jobs and economic growth," said Risch. "Now it is time for Congress to take action and end the inexcusable delay of tens of thousands of new jobs and investment in our economy. This legislation will finally clear the way for this project to move forward."
"The route has been approved and the studies have been completed. The President has been sitting on this valuable opportunity for far too long," Pryor said. "Our bill gives Congress the authority it needs to move forward with this vital project and create jobs here at home."
"Many Americans are still hurting for jobs, and one partial bipartisan solution is staring us all in the face - the Keystone XL pipeline," said Vitter. "We are blessed with a strong trading partner and neighbor in Canada, and the administration should realize that the time for political delays is over."
"For me, the Keystone Pipeline is common sense - it provides good-paying jobs and a secure supply of energy close to home," said Begich. "Alaskans know firsthand the value of energy production to our economy and national security and this legislation will help put us another step closer to real energy security."
"Obamacare, the Administration's tidal wave of regulations and the failure to control government spending has left our economy staggering and our job market stagnant," said Roberts. The Keystone Pipeline is an essential job creating and North American energy promoting project and should be approved immediately. When jobs and the economy are struggling we have an obligation to do everything we can to stimulate growth, the Keystone pipeline is a commonsense move in this direction."
"We have delayed building the Keystone XL Pipeline for far too long," Senator Manchin said. "The pipeline would give us the opportunity to buy oil from Canada--our neighbor, our ally and one of our greatest trading partners. The Keystone XL pipeline would also allow us to move away from dependence on foreign oil produced by countries who are not our friends, and to move closer to our goal of achieving North American energy independence. The pipeline would also create thousands of good-paying jobs right here at home that could help boost our stagnant economy. Let's not waste another minute debating the approval of the Keystone Pipeline and finally begin its construction."
"Built to the highest safety standards and with strong protections for private property rights, the Keystone XL pipeline will boost our economy, create good Montana jobs, and increase our energy security," Tester said. "This bill lets the President know that the Senate will keep pressing to build the pipeline, and that it should be approved without further delay."
"It is time to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which has undergone more than four years of the most exhaustive environmental scrutiny of any pipeline in U.S. history," said Cornyn. "An "all of the above' energy strategy starts with signing off on Keystone and the tens of thousands of American jobs that come with it. Keystone will be good for the economy, good for national security, and good for Texas."
"It shouldn't take over five years for President Obama and bureaucrats in Washington to approve a project that will deliver good jobs and energy to Americans. Our bill will finally approve Keystone XL immediately. It's time to stop blocking and start building," said Barrasso.