WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Orrin Hatch, Mike Lee, and 42 fellow senators announced they would introduce legislation that would approve the Keystone XL pipeline Monday
The Keystone XL pipeline is proposed to extend from Canada to the Gulf Coast, transporting an additional 830,000 barrels of oil per day to U.S. refineries. Supporters of the project have said it will create up to 20,000 American jobs.
On Jan. 18, President Barack Obama announced he was blocking the pipeline. He stated his reason for doing so was not the pipeline itself, but the rushed manner in which Congress wanted it approved. The rush did not allow ample time to study the pipeline’s potential environmental impact, he said.
“As the State Department made clear last month, the rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment,” the president said. “As a result, the Secretary of State has recommended that the application be denied. And after reviewing the State Department’s report, I agree.”
The cancellation of the pipeline did not please Utah’s senators.
“The White House’s decision to reject the Keystone pipeline project was another failure in leadership from one of the most anti-American-energy Administrations in our nation’s history,” Sen. Hatch said.
Sen. Lee also voiced his disapproval.
“There is absolutely no rational justification for standing in the way of profitable enterprise that would create American jobs, American wealth, and greater American energy security.” Lee said. “President Obama is kowtowing to the most extreme elements of the environmentalist movement by blocking the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, and he has the audacity to do so while calling Congress ‘obstructionist.’”
In response to cancellation of the pipeline’s construction Hatch, Lee, and 42 additional senators announced legislation that would approve the Keystone XL pipeline project under Congress’s authority enumerated in the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8.
The legislation authorizes TransCanada to construct and operate the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to Houston, Tex. The bill builds off the completed Environmental Impact Statement, which was finished by the State Department on Aug. 26, 2011.
Additionally, the bill requires the U.S. State Department to enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) within 30 days with the state of Nebraska to assist in rerouting in that state, which will be subject to the Nebraska governor’s agreement on the route within the state. However, it allows Nebraska all the time it needs to identify a new route within the state to strengthen the completed Environmental Impact Statement.
According to a joint-statement issued by Hatch, Lee and other supporting senators, the Keystone XL pipeline project has been under review for more than three years, yet the president rejected it, saying the 60-day provision included in the payroll tax cut extension bill passed in December didn’t give him enough time to review the project.
The statement adds that the Obama Administration spent 1,217 days reviewing the pipeline and there was no time limit on the State Department’s ability to review the Nebraska portion of the project. The legislation requires strong environmental and safety requirements by incorporating the environmental and safety standards required and finalized by the Secretary of State. At the same time, the bill protects state and local laws relating to the protection of private property rights by ensuring those laws are not changed in this process.
“This common-sense legislation would overturn the White House’s inexplicable decision and allow this critical, job-creating project to move forward,” Hatch said.
Lee called the proposed bill a “step in the right direction.”
In addition to Hatch and Lee, other original cosponsors of the bill are Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), David Vitter (R-La.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), John Thune (R-S.D.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), John Boozman (R-Ark.) Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Ala.), John Kyle (R-Ariz.); Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Patrick Toomey (R-Penn.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), John Risch (R-Idaho), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).
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