Hoeven, Bipartisan Group of Senators: Don't Delay Keystone XL Decision Again

WASHINGTON – Senators John Hoeven, Max Baucus (D-Mont.), John Thune (R-S.D.) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.) today said that President Obama must not delay yet again a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline project, which would extend the review process into an unprecedented sixth year.

The senators say the delay could be occasioned this time by a second inspector general’s (IG) inquiry regarding the Department of State’s most recent Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The first inquiry, completed in January of 2012, found that the Department of State handled a previous EIS properly and transparently.

“This marks the fourth delay of the Keystone XL project since 2011, when the State Department issued its final EIS finding no significant environmental impact and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton informed me that the agency expected to make a decision by December of that year,” Hoeven said. “This tactic of delay and deferral must stop. It is depriving America of jobs, hurting the American economy and hurting the American people.”

“We cannot sit by while excuse after excuse delays jobs in Montana and across the country,” Baucus said. “We've had years of studies and the President's own State Department has repeatedly concluded the environment won't be harmed. It's past time to put Americans to work building the Keystone pipeline.”

“Bipartisan majorities in both chambers of Congress have voted in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline and poll after poll continues to show that the majority of Americans support the job-creating project, yet the president remains beholden to the extreme environmental wing of his party,” Thune said. “Nearly five years have passed since the Keystone XL pipeline permit request was first submitted and four successful environmental reviews have since been conducted. It’s time for the president to stop making excuses and immediately approve this common-sense project that stands to create thousands of jobs and invest billions in the American economy.”

“Time is up for President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline,” said Landrieu. “This project will ensure we are able to replace oil imports from Venezuela and the Middle East with imports from our longtime ally Canada. It will create 43,000 much-needed jobs, and it will support fabrication and construction industries along the Gulf Coast and throughout the Midwest. Continuing to delay the pipeline will only drive Canadian production to be exported to China and Korea. We cannot miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to grow our economy, secure our energy independence and reduce our oil imports from countries that do not share our values.”

The senators said, notwithstanding the IG’s inquiry, President Obama and the State Department have no justification to delay the project yet again and have ample reason to approve it. To date, four environmental impact statements and reviews have been completed on the Keystone XL project and not one has indicated a significant environmental impact. In fact, all have issued a finding of “no significant impact” on the environment. And in its latest analysis in March, the State Department concluded specifically that “there would be no substantive change in global greenhouse gas emissions” associated with Keystone XL.

If the approval process of the Keystone XL project is the new model of how our country plans to approach energy development, the nation is at serious risk, the senators said. The Keystone XL project must be decided on its merits, which are clear: it will create jobs, help reduce and eventually eliminate our reliance on Middle Eastern oil, and enhance our nation’s security. That’s why the president must approve it without delay, they said.