Hoeven, Baucus: Senate Passes Bipartisan Amendment in Support of Keystone XL Project

WASHINGTON – Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Max Baucus (D-Mont.) today offered an amendment that passed putting the U.S. Senate on record in support of the Keystone XL pipeline. The measure, which is attached to the Senate budget bill, was cosponsored by Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mark Begich (R-Alaska), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). The measure passed by a vote of 62 to 37.

The Hoeven-Baucus measure established a formal recognition by the U.S. Senate that the Keystone XL pipeline, a major energy infrastructure project, will boost the nation’s economic growth and contribute revenues to the United States Treasury. Just prior to passage of the Hoeven-Baucus Amendment, a second amendment that attempted to put delays and restrictions on the project was defeated by a vote of 33 to 66, making it very clear that the Administration should not delay or put more restrictions on the Keystone XL pipeline.

“Passing this Keystone XL amendment demonstrates with the clarity and firmness of a formal vote that the U.S. Senate supports the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and finds it in the national interest of the American people,” Hoeven said. “The amendment recognizes that the country will benefit from the pipeline by adding tens of thousands of jobs for Americans, billions of dollars to our economy and new tax revenue for our local, state and federal governments.”

“Budgets are about priorities and right now our number one priority needs to be creating jobs,” Baucus said. “Approving the Keystone Pipeline is the perfect opportunity to put Americans to work right now. American workers cannot afford to wait any longer for Keystone jobs, and there is absolutely no excuse for further delay.”

Every study conducted by the State Department has found no significant impacts to the environment, and the route through Nebraska has been addressed. Nebraska, along with every state through which the pipeline passes, now supports the Keystone XL pipeline project, the senators said.

The Keystone XL pipeline will carry 830,000 barrels of oil from Canada to refineries in the United States, including 100,000 barrels from Montana and North Dakota. The Department of energy confirms that the transported oil will be refined and used in the United States. Gas prices for the month of February were the highest on record. Further, the average price for gasoline today is $3.70 and in California it’s $4.10.

At a time when unemployment hovers near 8 percent, the Keystone XL pipeline will benefit states across our country. Companies supplying labor, materials or supplies for the project include Texas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Indiana, Georgia, Maryland, New York, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Ohio, Arkansas, Kansas, California and Pennsylvania.

Last week, Senators Hoeven and Baucus, and bipartisan group of cosponsors introduced separate legislation to approve the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline. The senators’ bill would approve the 1,700-mile, high-tech project under Congress’s authority enumerated in the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8. Hoeven last year secured an opinion from the non-partisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) confirming Congress’s constitutional authority to approve the project. The measure garnered 16 cosponsors, eight Republicans and eight Democrats, and is now on the Senate Calendar.

What supporters are saying:

“An ‘all of the above’ energy strategy starts with signing off on Keystone and the tens of thousands of American jobs that come with it, which the President could do with the simple stroke of a pen,” Cornyn said. “Keystone will be good for the economy, good for national security, and good for Texas.”

“I support this amendment because the Keystone XL pipeline will create good-paying American jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said Heitkamp. “This project has undergone a thorough review and it is time to approve construction of the pipeline.”

“This is the right thing for the country on so many levels – it means jobs and greater energy security. After five years of review, it’s time to stop stalling and approve the Keystone XL pipeline,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

“The Keystone XL pipeline will give our economy an added boost by creating thousands of jobs and securing a reliable energy supply close to home,” said Begich. “Today’s effort is another call for the Administration to stop dragging its feet and get to work on this critical project.”

“The Keystone Pipeline is an essential job creating and North American energy project and should be approved immediately,” Roberts said. “When jobs and the economy are struggling we have an obligation to do everything we can to stimulate growth, the Keystone pipeline is a commonsense, bipartisan, and simple move in this direction.”

“As our economy continues to recover, there’s no dispute that the Keystone XL Pipeline would create good-paying jobs right here at home,” Senator Manchin said. “Not only is the pipeline’s construction good for our economy, but it helps move us closer to our goal of achieving North American energy independence right here, right now.”