Bipartisan senators to Obama: Come on with the Keystone pipeline already
posted at 11:31 am on January 24, 2013 by Erika Johnsen
Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman signed off on TransCanada’s revised route through his state earlier this week, effectively clearing what the Obama administration has cited as a major hurdle to green-lighting the entire Keystone XL pipeline. Having already been through years of multiple State Department reviews, and with the southern portion of the project already under construction, it appears that bipartisan members Congress in fact can agree on at least one thing: The administration’s level of well-orchestrated stalling on this thing is starting to get downright ridiculous.
A letter signed by 53 senators said Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman’s approval of a revised route through his state puts the long-delayed project squarely in the president’s hands.
“We urge you to choose jobs, economic development and American energy security,” the letter said, adding that the pipeline “has gone through the most exhaustive environmental scrutiny of any pipeline” in U.S. history. The $7 billion project would carry oil from Canada to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast.
“There is no reason to deny or further delay this long-studied project,” said the letter, which was initiated by Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Max Baucus, D-Mont., and signed by 44 Republicans and nine Democrats. Another Democrat, Jon Tester of Montana, supports the pipeline but did not sign the letter.
Judging from the president’s second inaugural address, perhaps he’s forgotten that our economy is still weak and our unemployment rate is still awful, and that Americans are eagerly waiting for the type of productive, private-sector jobs that approving the pipeline would readily provide — but then again, he set himself up for this conundrum by banging the climate-change drum so hard during that same speech. The well-monied environmentalists will be quite happy to hold him to that, but it’s all too clear that this pipeline is what the people want:
PRESIDENT OBAMA rejected the Keystone XL oil pipeline this time last year, a result that Canada had every reason to be dismayed by, as did Americans whom the project would have employed. The issue is coming back, and the president has even less reason to nix the project than he did last time.
After years of federal review, there was little question last year that construction of the pipeline, which would transport heavy, oil-like bitumen from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico coast, should proceed. Thousands of miles of pipeline already crisscross this country. An environmental analysis had concluded that the risks of adding this new stretch were low. An economic review had found that Canada would get its bitumen to the world market — if not via pipeline to the gulf, then very likely by ship to China. Supply would make it to demand, one way or another.