New Majority Calls for Swift Approval of Keystone XL Pipeline

Sens. Murkowski, Hoeven Underscore Benefits of Jobs, Infrastructure Project

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and John Hoeven, R-N.D., today encouraged their Senate colleagues to support newly-reintroduced legislation to approve the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline.

Murkowski joined Hoeven and several other colleagues on the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon to confirm their ongoing support for the project. It has now been 2,301 days – more than six years – and counting since the company seeking to build Keystone XL submitted an application for a cross-border permit. Murkowski and Hoeven said that is more than enough time for the federal government to review and approve the project.

“The Keystone XL pipeline is all about energy, jobs, economic growth and national security, which is why we’re calling on the president to work with Congress and support it,” Hoeven said. “For us to continue to produce more energy and secure the benefits of our energy renaissance, we need more pipelines to move crude at the lowest cost and in the safest way. The State Department’s environmental reviews of the project have consistently found that the Keystone XL pipeline will have no significant impact on the environment. After six years of review, Mr. President it’s time to make a decision for the American people.”

Multiple State Department analyses have found that the Keystone XL project would support 42,100 jobs during its construction phase, generate more than $2 billion in new earnings for workers, and add $3.4 billion to America’s GDP.

“As policymakers, we have a choice to make: we can act to keep supply as high as possible, and energy prices as low as possible, or we can sit on our hands, refuse to make even the simplest of decisions, and give away this golden opportunity,” Murkowski said. “Our choice is to act, and our first step is to approve the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. We are starting here, in this new Congress, because a final decision on this project is grossly overdue – and because it will benefit our economy, our national security, and even the environment.”

On Tuesday, Hoeven introduced the Keystone XL Pipeline Act (S.1) to authorize construction of the $7 billion cross-border pipeline, which would deliver oil from Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. The bipartisan bill has 60 cosponsors and is set to be considered on the Senate floor next week.

Other Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee members cosponsoring the bipartisan bill are Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Steve Daines, R-Mont., as well as Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., all of whom joined today’s colloquy in support of the pipeline project. Archived video of the full colloquy is available here.

Murkowski had planned to receive testimony about Keystone XL at a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday morning, but Democrats used a procedural move to block it. The energy panel is scheduled to vote an original bill approving Keystone XL on Thursday morning. If approved by the committee, that bill would also go to the full Senate for consideration alongside the Hoeven bill.

“The decision that this pipeline is in the national interest should have been an easy one. This is an infrastructure project that will boost our economy and security by carrying American and Canadian oil to the Gulf Coast in the safest, most efficient manner possible,” Murkowski said. “Keystone XL is a natural starting point for the 114th Congress because it has been delayed so long. It’s clear the president is not going to make a decision – so it is time for Congress to make it instead.”

The Senate came within one vote of passing legislation approving Keystone XL in November. The House of Representatives approved Keystone XL legislation on multiple occasions during the 113th Congress.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Click here to download video of Senator Hoeven’s floor speech. Click here to download audio.