U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., have co-sponsored legislation that would force the Obama Administration to issue a construction permit for the Keystone XL pipeline within 60 days. The legislation comes in the wake of the Obama administration recently postponing until after the 2012 election a decision on whether to approve a permit for the pipeline that would run from Canada to Texas.
The legislation, the North American Energy Security Act, was spearheaded by Sens. Dick Lugar, R-Ind., John Hoeven, R-N.D., and David Vitter, R-La.
"The administration must be an ally, and not an impediment, in the effort to secure America's energy future," said Isakson, who is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "I am pleased to join my Senate colleagues in co-sponsoring this legislation because the KeyStone XL pipeline will immediately increase America's energy security, strengthen ties with one of America's strongest allies and create jobs in America."
"We simply cannot afford to delay approval of the Keystone pipeline permit any longer. Its construction will allow us to increase oil imports from Canada, a trusted ally and friend," said Chambliss. "By delaying this permit, President Obama is putting his own reelection ahead of America's economy and energy security. After years of review and environmental evaluation, it's time to move forward on this project."
The proposed 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline would transport 700,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada and the U.S. Bakken region to U.S. refineries. Canada's oil sands are among the largest oil reserves in the world. As global demand for oil surges and Canada increases production, the addition of the Keystone XL pipeline will ensure that Americans benefit from reliable and secure oil from our largest trading partner.
Despite having spent a record three years reviewing the Keystone XL permit, including two comprehensive environmental evaluations, the Obama Administration recently deferred a decision on the permit until after the 2012 presidential election. The legislation Isakson and Chambliss are co-sponsoring will spur job creation in the United States quickly and will reduce America's dependence on oil from volatile regions.
Specifically, the bill:
Establishes Congressional affirmation that Keystone XL is good for job creation, economic growth, and national security.
Requires the Secretary of State to issue a permit within 60 days to allow the Keystone XL project to move ahead, unless the President publicly determines that it is not in the national interest.
Requires the permit for Keystone XL to contain strong and specific environmental protections and protect states' rights.
Requires the federal permit to recognize an alternative route approved by Nebraska, protecting its ability to shift the route of the pipeline to avoid the Sand Hills while not holding up construction elsewhere.
Concludes more than three years of federal review by deeming the Final Environmental Impact Statement to be adequate.
Earlier this month, Isakson sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to express his strong objections over the administration postponing a decision on the proposed KeyStone XL pipeline until after the 2012 election.