By Keith Calder
60 is the magic number.
In what has been a five-year-plus review of TransCanada Corp’s Keystone Pipeline XL Pipeline, North Dakota Republican Senator John Hoeven and Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana re-introduced bipartisan legislation on Thursday which would give Congress the immediate authority to authorize and build the Keystone XL Pipeline, taking authority away from the U.S. State Department.
In a press statement released by Senator Landrieu office, 11 Senate Democrats broke with party lines joining all 45 Republican Senators as co-sponsors. That leaves the bill just four votes short of the crucial 60 votes needed in order to overcome a Democratic filibuster
With Americans struggling to find work and energy prices rising, the construction of Keystone is vital to our economy and the future of North American energy.
Once completed, the Keystone XL Pipeline will bring an estimated 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Canada’s Alberta oil sands to America’s struggling Golf Coast refiners. This amount of crude oil will not only strengthen our ties with our greatest trading partner, but reduce energy dependency from our less-friendly energy partners in South America and the Middle East.
The United States would also benefit from an increase in 42,000 “shovel ready” jobs, including a much needed boost to “spin off” jobs when suppliers get involved in pipeline’s construction. These high quality jobs will also generate $6.5 billion in new personal income, and $585 million in new state and local taxes in states along the pipeline route.
According to Senator Hoeven’s re-introduced proposal, the updated bill recognizes the State Department’s final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). That reports concludes that the pipeline would actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to alternative scenarios, and affirms that blocking the pipeline would have no impact on Canadian oil-sands production.
Under this legislation, a presidential permit would no longer be needed to approve the project.
The Obama administration’s decision to delay review of the pipeline until after the midterm elections is purely political, irresponsible, and unnecessary. The Keystone project has been under review since 2008, and further delaying the pipeline will only antagonize Canada. Blocking the construction of Keystone will lead to negative trade relations, loss of ”shovel ready” jobs, and decreased energy supplies.
Just four more Democrats stand between us and thousands of jobs and the future of American energy.
Mary Landrieu insists she is a pro-energy chairwoman who can deliver on this vital project; can she find four more Democrats willing to stand up to President Obama and anti-Keystone billionaire Tom Steyer? Or will she be content to have failed a vote, perhaps delivering political cover for some Senate Democrats but failing to actually accomplish anything.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting the Senate will vote on S.582 soon. For jobs, energy, and the U.S. economy, let’s hope four more Democrats do the right thing.
Take action at www.KeystoneXLNow.com!
By Keith Calder