Administration Critics Keep Up Pressure Over Keystone

Pipe is stacked at the southern site of the Keystone XL pipeline on March 22, 2012 in Cushing, Oklahoma. U.S. President Barack Obama is pressing federal agencies to expedite the section of the Keystone XL pipeline between Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast.
National Journal
Clare Foran
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Clare Foran
Jan. 29, 2014, 1:45 a.m.

Con­ser­vat­ive law­makers in the House and Sen­ate are keep­ing up the pres­sure on Pres­id­ent Obama to ap­prove the Key­stone XL pipeline, des­pite the fact that the pres­id­ent made no men­tion of the pro­ject Tues­day in his State of the Uni­on speech.

Re­act­ing to the speech, Sen. John Ho­even, R-N.D., an ar­dent pro­ponent of the pipeline, which would ship crude oil from Al­berta, Canada, to Gulf Coast re­finer­ies, said: “Al­though it is only one pro­ject, the Key­stone XL pipeline il­lus­trates the way the pres­id­ent is hold­ing up our eco­nomy and dis­cour­aging real, private-sec­tor job cre­ation. The Key­stone pipeline, and pro­jects like it, will cre­ate mil­lions of jobs…. Yet the Key­stone XL pipeline has lan­guished for five years in reg­u­lat­ory limbo, while mil­lions re­main job­less.”

Over on the oth­er side of the Cap­it­ol, House En­ergy and Com­merce Com­mit­tee Chair­man Fred Up­ton, R-Mich., also touted the pro­ject as a jobs cre­at­or.

“Build­ing the ar­chi­tec­ture of abund­ance and say­ing yes to widely sup­por­ted pro­jects like the Key­stone pipeline will help cre­ate jobs today and keep en­ergy af­ford­able to­mor­row,” Up­ton said in a state­ment. “We face great chal­lenges as a na­tion, but now is the time to come to­geth­er, not go it alone, in the ef­fort to cre­ate jobs and boost the middle class.”

The con­ser­vat­ive law­makers were joined by private-sec­tor sup­port­ers of the pipeline, in­clud­ing Jay Tim­mons, the pres­id­ent and CEO of the Na­tion­al As­so­ci­ation of Man­u­fac­tur­ers.

“The pres­id­ent missed an op­por­tun­ity to show the Amer­ic­an people that Wash­ing­ton can put polit­ics aside for pro-growth policies,” Tim­mons said in a state­ment. “His call for an ‘all-of-the-above’ en­ergy strategy neg­lected to in­clude the Key­stone XL pipeline, and his com­ment on tax re­form once again used the polit­ic­al tar­get of en­ergy pro­du­cers while fail­ing to call for com­pre­hens­ive re­form that will drive growth for all in­dus­tries.”

En­vir­on­ment­al act­iv­ists have long op­posed the pipeline on the grounds that it will ac­cel­er­ate Ca­na­dian oil sands de­vel­op­ment. Pro­ject back­ers, however, say it will not have any sub­stan­tial en­vir­on­ment­al im­pact and con­tend that ship­ping crude by pipeline is safer than by truck or rail.

Obama has said he will not green­light Key­stone XL un­less it has been demon­strated that the pipeline will not sig­ni­fic­antly add to at­mo­spher­ic levels of car­bon di­ox­ide.

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