May 01 2014
Measure Backed by 56 Senators, Hoeven Pushing for Additional Support
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.) today filed an updated version of his legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline project under Congress’s authority enumerated in the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8. Hoeven secured an opinion from the non-partisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) confirming Congress’s constitutional authority to approve the project. The measure is backed by 56 Senators and Hoeven is working with Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.) to get the requisite 60 votes to pass the bill.
The legislation authorizes TransCanada to construct and operate the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to the U.S. Gulf Coast, transporting an additional 830,000 barrels of oil per day to U.S. refineries, which includes 100,000 barrels a day from the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana.
The updated measure formally recognizes the State Department’s final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) released in January, which concludes that construction of the Keystone XL pipeline would have no significant impact on the environment, nor would it make any difference in the development of the Canadian oil sands. Upon passage, a presidential permit would no longer be needed to approve the project.
Hoeven said he has all 45 Republican senators on the bill and is working to get as many Democrats to support it as possible. The bill already has a bipartisan majority of the Senate, and the sponsors are working to get 60 votes. A similar bill to approve the project that Hoeven introduced in March 2012 won 56 votes.
“The Keystone XL pipeline is a vital energy infrastructure project that the American people clearly favor,” Hoeven said. “Congress needs to make a decision because the administration has delayed making its decision indefinitely. Our legislation acknowledges the vital national interest this project represents on many levels. It will create thousands of jobs, boost our economy, help to reduce our reliance on Middle Eastern oil and make our country more secure.”
“The construction of the Keystone pipeline is very important to create thousands of high-paying jobs, push our economy forward and send a signal to the world that North America intends to step up to the competition and become an energy powerhouse. The review process has been thorough. The five studies that have been conducted as required by law are complete. It is time to stop studying and start building. We cannot lose this opportunity to create tens of thousands of jobs and $7 billion in economic activity,” said Sen. Landrieu. “The legislation Sen. Hoeven and I have introduced will green-light the construction of the pipeline immediately. This pipeline is clearly in our national interest, and I urge senators to join Sen. Hoeven and me to support this bill.”
The Keystone XL pipeline project has been under review for more than five years, with four favorable environmental reports completed to date. President Obama, however, has repeatedly extended review of the project to avoid making a decision, most recently two weeks ago when the State Department announced it will delay indefinitely the period that federal agencies have to comment on the Keystone XL pipeline project. The agency’s move will almost certainly postpone a decision on the project until after the November election.
Hoeven has been working to secure approval of the pipeline since he was governor of North Dakota, and as senator has several measures to advance the Keystone XL project. Last year, Hoeven and Landrieu submitted a joint resolution expressing the sense of Congress that construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and the federal approvals required for the construction are in the national interest of the United States.