US Senate Republicans press Obama for Keystone XL decision

Republican members of the US Senate asked US President Barack Obama for a decision on the proposed Keystone XL crude oil pipeline’s cross-border permit in the days leading up to the president’s State of the Union address on Jan. 28.

“On Mar. 14, 2013, at a meeting with Senate Republicans, you were asked when we could expect a final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline,” the Jan. 24 letter signed by all 45 GOP Senate members said.

“At that time, you told us that a decision on the presidential permit would be made before the end of the year,” it continued. “We are well into 2014, and you still have not made a decision.”

TransCanada Corp., the project’s sponsor, filed its original cross-border permit application in 2008, the letter noted. It said the State of Nebraska approved a modified route for the project on Jan. 22, 2013, and the US Department of State closed the comment period on the draft supplemental environmental impact statement on April 22, 2013—“notably, a year after you personally directed federal agencies to make more ‘timely’ decisions on infrastructure projects.”

The senators told Obama, “Your administration has had more than enough time to issue a final EIS and make a decision on the pipeline. Given the length of time your administration has studied the Keystone XL pipeline and the public’s overwhelming support for it, you should not further delay a decision to issue a presidential permit.”

Sens. John A. Barrasso (Wyo.) and John Hoeven (ND), who serve on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, initiated the letter.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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