Dear Secretary Clinton:
I write in strong support of TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The Keystone XL pipeline will improve American energy security and boost our economy, two goals I know we share. I continue to believe it is in our country's best interest for the State Department to move as expeditiously as possible to approve the Presidential Permit necessary for this project to move forward.
As you are aware, the Keystone XL pipeline has been subjected to thorough environmental assessments, including a three year National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review indicating that the project, as then proposed, would not pose any significant risk to the environment. However, earlier this year, the State Department declined to issue the Presidential Permit for the pipeline because it could not complete its final assessment prior to the Congressional imposed deadline of February 21, 2012. TransCanada has since reapplied for the permit and in doing so have proposed to reroute the pipeline in order to address concerns with its originally proposed location in Nebraska.
As the State Department reevaluates the environmental impact of the pipeline, it would clearly be most efficient and appropriate to examine only those new issues that are associated with TransCanada's renewed permit application. Specifically, the renewed permit seeks to re-route the Keystone XL pipeline in the State of Nebraska in order alleviate the Nebraska Legislature's concerns of potential impacts on the environmentally sensitive Sand Hill region of the state. This new section of the pipeline is the only portion of the pipeline that has not previously received review. The State Department should adopt its previous analysis of the Keystone XL pipeline for the sections that remain unchanged and only conduct a review of the rerouted section of the pipeline.
If approved quickly, the Keystone XL pipeline project is expected to create thousands of jobs for American manufacturers and construction companies. It is also anticipated to bring billions in revenue to the several states in which the pipeline will be located. Most importantly, the pipeline will provide a significant and stable source of energy for American consumers. By providing Americans access to new energy production from our Canadian neighbors, we can also strengthen our national security by limiting our strategic vulnerability to more hostile overseas regimes that are prominent suppliers of energy resources to the United States.
The construction of the Keystone XL pipeline would provide significant benefits for our country. I urge the Department of State to expeditiously review the new route through Nebraska, including utilizing the existing environmental analysis from the project's Final Environmental Impact Statement in its NEPA review to the maximum extent practicable, and to ultimately grant TransCanada the Presidential Permit necessary to provide for the final and full construction of the pipeline.