Senators ramp up pressure on Obama to approve pipeline
WASHINGTON — More than half the Senate on Wednesday urged quick approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, ramping up pressure on President Obama to move ahead with the project just days after he promised in his inaugural address to respond vigorously to the threat of climate change.
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.
At a news conference, senators said the pipeline should be a key part of Obama's “all of the above” energy policy, in which he has expressed support for a range of energy sources from oil and natural gas to wind, solar and coal.
The Obama administration has twice thwarted the 1,700-mile pipeline, which Calgary-based TransCanada first proposed in late 2008. The State Department delayed the project in late 2011 after environmental groups and others raised concerns about a proposed route through environmentally sensitive land in Nebraska.
Under pressure from congressional Republicans to make a decision on the pipeline, Obama blocked it in January 2012, saying his concerns about the Nebraska route had not been resolved. TransCanada submitted a new application last spring.
The State Department said Tuesday it does not expect to complete a review of the project before the end of March. The State Department has jurisdiction over the pipeline because it crosses a U.S. border.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Ebola only a plane ride away from U.S.
- U.S. troops to deploy to Poland as NATO expands
- Law enforcement, intelligence agencies want to ‘like’ you on social media
- National Gallery, Uffizi collaborate on Piero di Cosimo exhibit
- Stoned volunteers test drug, alcohol effect on driving
- Deal to improve veterans’ health care costs $17B