Hoeven, McConnell, GOP Leadership Mark Sixth Anniversary of Inaction on Keystone XL Permit

All 45 GOP Senators Call on President to Approve the Keystone XL Pipeline

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senators John Thune (R-S.D.), Ranking Energy Committee member Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) today marked the sixth anniversary of TransCanada’s original application for a presidential permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline.

The senators also highlighted the occasion in a letter they sent to President Obama signed by all 45 Republican senators calling on him to approve the pipeline immediately:

“TransCanada first applied for a Presidential Permit on September 19, 2008.  Since then, the U.S. Department of State has reviewed hundreds of thousands of comments and completed five environmental impact statements, all of which have found the pipeline will have no significant impact on the environment.  In 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the State Department would make a decision on the pipeline by the end of that year.  You yourself told our conference in March of last year that you would make a decision before the end of 2013.  Mr. President, it is long past time to make a decision.

“The federal process is complete and has been complete for a long time.  The states should have the primary role of determining the proper legal and regulatory procedures for siting the pipeline within their respective borders.  The federal government should move forward with its determination.”

Meanwhile, the reasons to approve the Keystone XL pipeline project continue to mount. In addition to the jobs, economic activity, enhanced energy security and strengthened national security the Keystone XL pipeline project will create, due to congestion on the tracks, we can now add concerns about rail safety and long delays in agriculture shipment to the long list of reasons that the Keystone XL pipeline is in the national interest.

“After more than six years of study, five favorable environmental reviews, numerous polls showing the support of the American people, ISIS and the turmoil in the Middle East, it is way past time we take off the blinders and do what is in the best interest of the United States: approve the Keystone XL pipeline,” Hoeven said. “With our closest friend and ally Canada, we can produce more energy than we use, and achieve true North American energy independence. That’s why every Republican member of the U.S. Senate has joined in our letter calling for the president to approve the project.”

“It’s unacceptable that the administration has spent six years dragging its feet on construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, and I commend Senator Hoeven for bringing attention to that fact,” said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. “While some on the other side of the aisle might claim to be supportive of Keystone jobs, they’ve failed to stand up to the majority leader who has blocked this effort time and time again on behalf of the Obama administration.”

“This week marks six years of President Obama pandering to the extreme environmental wing of his party and six years of lost job creation,” said Republican Conference Chairman John Thune. “If the president were serious about helping the middle class, he’d use that pen he likes to talk about to approve this project today.”

“If Senator Reid shuts down the Senate today, we’ll have only been in session for two weeks out of three whole months.  It’s absolutely embarrassing that Majority Leader Reid and President Obama refuse to lead on important issues like the Keystone XL pipeline,” said Republican Policy Committee Chairman Barrasso. “After six years of exhaustive review, the American people and our allies in Canada deserve an answer – not more inaction.  It’s time for Washington to finally approve Keystone XL and help more Americans have access to good jobs and affordable energy.”

“Approval of the Keystone XL project is long overdue. This is a simple decision to improve trade with our closest ally that could - and should – have been made years ago. The president needs to stop dragging his feet and allow folks to get to work. There is no dispute over whether this project is in the national interest. The energy security and economic benefits are clear, and years of environmental review has determined that the project will not adversely impact the environment.”  – Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, ranking member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Earlier this week, Hoeven and Murkowski introduced the North American Energy Infrastructure Act, a measure that will prevent unnecessarily protracted delays for important energy infrastructure projects like the Keystone XL pipeline. The measure eliminates the Presidential Permit requirement for projects crossing the national boundary between the United States and Canada or Mexico and puts the decision making into the hands of the appropriate agencies.