Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-2) voted Wednesday in the House Natural Resources Committee to expedite approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline project.
Approved by a bipartisan vote of 24-17, the Northern Route Approval Act (H.R. 3) now goes to the full House for a vote.
"As I have said over and over, the President has run out of excuses not to go ahead and approve these "shovel ready' jobs," Mullin said. "I have toured construction along the southern leg of the pipeline that runs through the Second District and seen the great job these highly skilled workers are doing. The economic benefit to the local communities of southern Oklahoma is estimated to be around $5 million per month in both construction costs and spending by workers on things like food and housing. For small towns like Atoka, Caddo and Tushka, that's also an enormous jump in their typical sales tax revenue."
The Keystone XL project is a pipeline to transport crude oil from Canada and the Bakken Shale Formation in Montana to refineries on the Gulf Coast. Work is already underway to construct the pipeline through parts of Oklahoma but the project's final approval for the northern section has lagged. The U.S. State Department's draft supplemental report released earlier this year indicated that the pipeline can be built with no significant damage to the environment.
The EPA is now attempting to weigh in on the issue, sending a letter to the U.S. State Department raising objections to the State Department's draft environmental analysis of the project. The impact of the pipeline has been studied over and over again and any environmental impact that the President was concerned with has been answered.
"The EPA is focused on an extreme agenda that does not put country first," Mullin said. "It is clear to me that EPA's overzealous and overreaching arm has had negative effects on local businesses in Oklahoma. It is time for the EPA to set aside their liberal, job-killing agenda and think about what is best for this country."
"This project and the jobs it creates are funded completely with private sector dollars. Approving the northern leg will be a boost for the economy at a time when Americans are struggling with the increased payroll tax, wildly fluctuating gas prices and rising costs of just about everything."
The pipeline extension will also help reduce America's dependence on oil from countries that do not have our best interests at heart.