Senate Majority Tells Obama to Hurry with Pipeline

Yahoo Contributor Network

A majority of the United States Senate has now signed on to a letter urging President Barack Obama to hurry up and approve the Keystone XL Pipeline route. The letter, authored by Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Max Baucus, D-Mont., was signed by 53 members of the Senate within one day's time this week. Here are the details.

* TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline is a proposed $5.3 billion line that will transport oil from Hardisty, Alberta and Baker, Mont., to Steele City, Neb.

* The pipeline was initially proposed to go from Alberta to oil refineries in the gulf coast. However, in 2012, Obama denied the permit for the pipeline due to environmental concerns with the proposed route through the Sandhills in Nebraska.

* TransCanada split the project into two pipelines: the Gulf Coast project, which gained approval and is being constructed, and the rerouted Keystone XL.

* Earlier this week, Nebraska's governor approved the pipeline reroute, TransCanada announced, paving the way for the president to reconsider approval of the project, which the company estimates will support more than 4,500 new and existing jobs in Nebraska and will pump more than $418 million into the state's economy.

* "Nebraska has now addressed the outstanding concerns you raised when you denied the permit," read the bipartisan letter to Obama from members of the Senate, "and we therefore urge you to finish expeditiously the review process and approve the pipeline."

* The letter goes on to state that the only question that remains now that Nebraska's environmental concerns have been satisfied is "whether we receive the oil from our friend and ally or whether Canada is forced to look for new partners in Asia because we turned them away."

* The letter also stated that, in 2009, the U.S. State Department recommended approval of another Canada-U.S. pipeline -- the Alberta Clipper -- on the premise that the addition of crude oil pipeline capacity between Canada and the United States would advance a number of strategic U.S. interests.

* Nine Democrats and 44 Republicans signed this week's letter to Obama.

* On Tuesday, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman stated in a letter to Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that the evaluation of the proposed 194.5-mile-long pipeline route through Nebraska avoids many areas of fragile soils in the state's norther region and that construction and operation of the pipeline, with mitigation and commitments from Keystone, would have minimal environmental impacts.

* TransCanada welcomed the news, stating that the approval by Heinemen "moves us one step closer to Americans receiving the benefits of Keystone XL -- the enhanced energy security it will provide and the thousands of jobs it will create."

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