Hatch, 43 Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Approve the Keystone XL Pipeline

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U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) today joined 43 colleagues in the Senate in announcing that they will introduce legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline project under Congress’s authority enumerated in the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8. The bipartisan group of senators committed to working together to advance this critical project for the United States, which is expected to create as many as 20,000 jobs across the country.

“The White House’s decision to reject the Keystone pipeline project was another failure in leadership from one of the most anti-American-energy Administrations in our nation’s history,” Hatch said. “This common-sense legislation would overturn the White House’s inexplicable decision and allow this critical, job-creating project to move forward.

The legislation authorizes TransCanada to construct and operate the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to the U.S. Gulf Coast, transporting an additional 830,000 barrels of oil per day to U.S. refineries. The bill builds off the completed Environmental Impact Statement, which was finished by the State Department on Aug. 26, 2011. Additionally, it requires the U.S. State Department to enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) within 30 days with the state of Nebraska to assist in rerouting in that state, which will be subject to the Nebraska governor’s agreement on the route within the state. However, it allows Nebraska all the time it needs to identify a new route within the state to strengthen the completed Environmental Impact Statement.

The Keystone XL pipeline project has been under review for more than three years, but President Obama rejected it last week saying the 60-day provision included in the payroll tax cut extension bill passed in December didn’t give him enough time to review the project. In fact, the Obama Administration spent 1,217 days reviewing the pipeline and there was no time limit on the State Department’s ability to review the Nebraska portion of the project. The legislation requires strong environmental and safety requirements by incorporating the environmental and safety standards required and finalized by the Secretary of State. At the same time, the bill protects state and local laws relating to the protection of private property rights by ensuring those laws are not changed in this process.

In addition to Hatch, other original cosponsors of the bill are Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), David Vitter (R-La.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), John Thune (R-S.D.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), John Boozman (R-Ark.) Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Ala.), John Kyle (R-Ariz.); Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Patrick Toomey (R-Penn.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), John Risch (R-Idaho), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).

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