If President Obama isn’t ready to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, a group of senators is prepared to take the decision off his hands.
Sens. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Max Baucus (D-Mont.) introduced legislation this week that would approve the project, which has been delayed nearly five years. The proposed legislation comes after the State Department indicated “no significant impact” on the environment.
Last year, Hoeven secured Congress’s constitutional authority to approve Keystone, making the 1,700-mile pipeline good to go under the body’s authority in the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8.
“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.”
After Nebraska OK’d the project to travel through the state, Hoeven and Baucus have raised efforts to gain approval for the project. With bipartisan support, the legislation would allow TransCanada to construct and operate the Keystone XL Pipeline from Alberta, Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast.
It is estimated the project would transport an additional 830,000 barrels of oil a day to U.S. refineries, including 100,000 barrels a day from the Bakken.
Senators in favor of the legislation backed it, citing the jobs the pipeline could create.
Prior to introducing the bill, Hoeven has stated Keystone will create tens of thousands of jobs while raising millions in revenue.
“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.”
Other senators supporting the legislation are Sens. 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.).