Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 18, 2014

GOP Senators Press Obama on Keystone Pipeline, Again

hoeven 14 040511 435x335 GOP Senators Press Obama on Keystone Pipeline, Again

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

All 45 Senate Republicans are pressing President Barack Obama to make a decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline approval.

Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and John Barrasso, R-Wyo., led the letter — sent in advance of Tuesday’s State of the Union address — seeking an answer from Obama “as soon as possible” on issuing a permit for the pipeline project.

“We have started yet another calendar year with no decision from your administration on the Keystone XL pipeline. TransCanada filed the original application for a Presidential Permit in 2008, and we are still waiting on the Department of State to issue a final environmental impact statement (EIS) for this project,” the senators wrote.

“On March 14, 2013, at a meeting with Senate Republicans, you were asked when we could expect a final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline,” the letter said. “At that time, you told us that a decision on the Presidential Permit would be made before the end of the year. We are well into 2014 and you still have not made a decision.”

Republicans have repeatedly pushed for approval of the pipeline, which had supermajority support, 62-37, in the Senate on a non-binding test vote last March.

The text of the letter to Obama appears below:

Dear Mr. President:

We have started yet another calendar year with no decision from your administration on the Keystone XL pipeline. TransCanada filed the original application for a Presidential Permit in 2008, and we are still waiting on the Department of State to issue a final environmental impact statement (EIS) for this project.

On March 14, 2013, at a meeting with Senate Republicans, you were asked when we could expect a final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. At that time, you told us that a decision on the Presidential Permit would be made before the end of the year. We are well into 2014 and you still have not made a decision.

We need a safe and efficient system to transport crude oil in this country. The Keystone XL pipeline is a vital piece of the puzzle. The entire project is a $7 billion, 1,700-mile, high-tech transcontinental pipeline. It would create a significant number of private-sector jobs without any cost to American taxpayers. Your own Department of State has estimated that the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline could support 42,000 jobs across the country.

On January 22, 2013, the State of Nebraska approved a modified route for the Keystone XL pipeline. The Department of State then closed its comment period on the draft supplemental EIS on April 22, 2013—notably, a year after you personally directed Federal agencies to make more “timely” decisions on infrastructure projects. Your administration has had more than enough time to issue a final EIS and make a decision on the pipeline.

Given the length of time your administration has studied the Keystone XL pipeline and the public’s overwhelming support for it, you should not further delay a decision to issue a Presidential Permit. We, therefore, request that you issue the final EIS and Presidential Permit approving the pipeline as soon as possible and tell us when we can expect your decision.

Thank you for your consideration, and we look forward to your prompt response.

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