Keystone pipeline remains pressing issue | Business Roundtable


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Keystone pipeline remains pressing issue

Jan 31, 2012

The importance of the Keystone XL pipeline shows no sign of fading in the public and political debate, with the latest news being the introduction of legislation in the Senate that would grant congressional approval of the project. A round-up:

News release, Jan. 30, office of Sen. John Hoeven, "Hoeven-Lugar-Vitter, Bipartisan Group of Senators to Introduce Legislation to Approve the Keystone XL Pipeline":

WASHINGTON –U.S. Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), David Vitter (R-La.) and a total of 44 senators today announced that they will introduce legislation to 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 bipartisan group of senators committed to working together to advance this critical project for the United States. Hoeven, Lugar and the other senators have been working with colleagues in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to ensure that this vital project is advanced.                                                  

The legislation authorizes TransCanada to construct and operate the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to the U.S. Gulf Coast, transporting an additional 830,000 barrels of oil per day to U.S. refineries, which includes 100,000 barrels a day from the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana. The bill allows the company to move forward with construction of the pipeline in the United States while the state of Nebraska works to determine an alternative route. Hoeven secured an opinion from the non-partisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) confirming Congress’s constitutional authority to approve the project.

The bill is S. 2041. Sen. Hoeven's floor statement Monday is available here. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is a Democratic co-sponsor of the legislation, who says:

As our country continues to need oil, common sense tells me I'd rather buy it from our friends in Canada, not countries around the world that seek to do us harm. I'd rather buy from our closest ally and create jobs in America than push Canada to build a pipeline out to the West Coast of North America so that it ends up going to China.

There is no question, this pipeline is a job creator with support of both labor and business. It needs to be built not for the benefit of one political party or one state, but for the benefit of America.

On the House side, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), says all options are on the table for moving a legislative approval.

The CRS report is, "Proposed Keystone XL Pipeline: Legal Issues," which concludes:

This report reviews those legal issues. First, it suggests that legislation related to cross-border facility permitting is unlikely to raise significant constitutional questions, despite the fact that such permits have traditionally been handled by the executive branch alone pursuant to its constitutional “foreign affairs” authority. Next, it observes generally that state oversight of pipeline siting decisions does not appear to violate existing federal law or the Constitution. Finally, the report suggests that State Department’s implementation of the existing authority to issue presidential permits appears to allow for judicial review of its National Environmental Policy Act determinations.

The Wall Street Journal today carries an op-ed by Lucian Pugliaresi, president of the Energy Policy Research Foundation, on the value of the Canadian crude to the U.S. refining industry, "Keystone Can Help the Gulf—and the Northeast," with the sub-headline, "U.S. refiners could make great use of Canadian oil, if only Washington would let them."

Finally, this Northwest Florida Daily News editorial, "Politics and the XL pipeline," cites BRT President John Engler, who said, "The President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness declared it imperative that the United States adopt an ‘all in’ approach toward energy development. One day later, the State Department walks away from a project that would create thousands of jobs, strengthen the economy and help America move toward energy security.”




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