New Keystone Bill Speeds Up Pipeline Decision
The U.S. Chamber has come out in support of a bill aimed at forcing the Obama administration to make a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline within 60 days rather than wait until 2013 to rule on the $7 billion project.
Introduced by Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) on November 30, the “North American Energy Security Act of 2011,” (S. 1932) would require the Department of State to make a decision on the federal permit for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline project within sixty days of enactment.
“President Obama has the opportunity of creating 20,000 new jobs NOW. Incredibly, he has delayed a decision until after the 2012 election apparently in fear of offending a part of his political base and even risking the ire of construction unions who support the pipeline,” Lugar said in a statement introducing his bill. “The Obama Administration has failed to produce a persuasive domestic strategy to reduce foreign oil dependence, and now it is failing to grasp the potential of energy security within North America.”
The Chamber sent a letter to the Senate endorsing the bill and urging members to cosponsor the legislation. “This legislation would maintain the President’s ability to decide whether the Keystone XL pipeline is in the national interest and would ensure that the permit contains strong and specific environmental protection, yet would help avoid the continued delay of the Keystone XL pipeline project and its much needed benefits.”
The proposed 1,600-mile Keystone XL pipeline would deliver more than 500,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta, Canada, through Cushing, Oklahoma, to Gulf Coast refineries. The
project is expected to create more than 20,000 jobs during the manufacturing and construction phases of the project. The pipeline would also reduce need for foreign oil imports from less stable regions of the world. In addition, Keystone XL would provide a much needed supply distribution infrastructure for American domestic energy producers in the Upper Northwest/Bakken region and in the Southwest.
The Keystone XL Pipeline has undergone a lengthy and thorough review process in which the State Department itself concluded that the proposed route was the best of the thirteen routes considered. However, the State Department is now backtracking, announcing on November 10 that it will postpone the project until after the 2012 elections and examine alternate routes.
“The Administration’s recent decision to put off a decision on the permit delays the project’s benefits for American job seekers, the economy, and domestic energy security,” the Chamber wrote in its December 1 letter.