Idaho Congressman Simpson today supported H.R. 3, the Northern Route Approval Act, which would put an end to years of bureaucratic delays and allow construction of the Keystone XL pipeline project.
The Keystone XL pipeline would transport crude oil from the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada, to refineries in the United States. Because the pipeline would connect the United States with a foreign country, it requires a Presidential Permit issued by the State Department. The State Department must find that the project would serve the national interest before it can issue the permit.
The first application to the U.S. State Department to build the pipeline was submitted in 2008, and after a thorough environmental review, in 2011 an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) found that the pipeline would have limited adverse environmental impacts during its construction and operation.
"Moving forward with the permitting of the Keystone XL pipeline would create jobs and reduce our dependence on unstable foreign sources of oil," said Simpson, "I am disappointed that the President appears to be playing politics with our nation's energy security."
Canadian pipeline company TransCanada has estimated that it will invest $7 billion in the United States to build the pipeline, and that up to 20,000 jobs would be directly created by the pipeline's construction. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the Keystone XL pipeline would be able to move 830,000 barrels of oil per day, which represents about half of the amount the U.S. imports from the Middle East.
"This project has broad bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, and it has been reviewed and studied for five years. Its economic implications for this country are too important to delay any longer," Simpson said.
The Northern Route Approval Act would eliminate the need for a Presidential Permit, and finds that the Final Environmental Impact Statement issued by the Secretary of State on August 26, 2011, shall satisfy all environmental review requirements. It also addresses all other necessary federal permits and limits legal challenges that could serve as further delays to the advancement of the project.
The House passed H.R. 3 by a vote of 241-145. It will now move to the Senate for further consideration.