Senate Republicans introduce energy amendment to jobs bill

Three Republican members of the US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee introduced legislation that would approve the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline and expedite applications to export US LNG as an amendment to the Unemployment Insurance Extension Bill.

The actions outlined in their Energy Security Act could create nearly 100,000 jobs, boost the nation’s economy, and aid US allies in Ukraine, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and Japan, Sens. John Hoeven (ND), John A. Barrasso (Wyo.), and Lisa Murkowski (Alas.), the committee’s ranking minority member, jointly said on Apr. 1.

“As we consider an extension of unemployment insurance benefits, we should also be considering measures that will actually address the problem by creating jobs for the long-term unemployed,” Hoeven said.

The amendment’s Keystone XL provision approves the project’s long-delayed cross-border permit application under Congress’s authority enumerated in the US Constitution’s Foreign Commerce Clause, which gives Congress the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations, he explained. The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service has confirmed Congress’s constitutional authority to approve the project, Hoeven said.

He said the amendment also would require the US Department of Energy to automatically approve LNG export applications to Ukraine, NATO member nations, and Japan as being in the US national interest. Current federal law recognizes this automatically to countries that have a free trade agreement with the US.

Hoeven said DOE has approved seven applications to export US LNG to non-FTA nations, and spent an average of 697 days processing each of them. Twenty-four other projects are awaiting a decision, he indicated.

Republicans David Vitter (La.), the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s ranking minority member; Jon Cornyn (Tex.); and James M. Inhofe (Okla.) cosponsored the amendment.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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