Hoeven: Energy and Natural Resource Committee Passes Hoeven-Manchin Bill to Approve Keystone XL Pipeline

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Hoeven today announced that the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has passed legislation that he and Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) introduced to approve the Keystone XL pipeline project. The measure now goes to the floor for debate and the amendment process.

Both Hoeven and Manchin serve on the Committee, which is chaired by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). The Hoeven-Manchin legislation approves the project under Congress’s authority enumerated in the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8.

The bill 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 Keystone XL pipeline – like rail, roads and transmission lines – is basic infrastructure,” Hoeven said. “It’s about energy, jobs, the economy and national security. For us to continue to produce more energy and compete in the global marketplace, we need more pipelines to move crude at the lowest cost and in the safest way possible. That means that pipelines like the Keystone XL are in the vital national interest of our country.”

The measure formally recognizes the most recent State Department Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) released in January of 2013, 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.

The Hoeven-Manchin bill, S.1, is the first piece of legislation brought to the floor in the 114th Congress. Sixty senators are cosponsoring the bill, and 63 senators have indicated support for the legislation at this point.

The Keystone XL pipeline project has been under review for more than six years, with five favorable environmental reports completed to date. President Obama, however, has repeatedly tried to defeat the project through delay, most recently last May, when the State Department announced it will extend indefinitely the period that federal agencies have to comment on the Keystone XL pipeline project.