Q: Why do you support the Keystone XL Pipeline?
A: The crude oil pipeline from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast called the Keystone XL pipeline would provide 830,000 barrels of crude oil a day and help to counteract insufficient domestic oil supplies and reduce America's dependence on less reliable foreign sources. The way I see it, the energy and economic development benefits of this pipeline are too important to delay any longer. Keystone XL contributes to a necessary, three-pronged approach for America's energy policy. We need to develop traditional oil and gas resources in America. We need development, production and use of alternative renewable fuels. We need to conserve energy. What's needed now is an increased supply of oil. The Keystone XL pipeline would help maintain adequate crude oil supplies for U.S. refineries and let us decrease dependence on foreign crude oil supplies from the Persian Gulf and Venezuela.
Q: What have you done to advance this pipeline?
A: In March, I voted for an amendment offered by Senator John Hoeven to the Senate budget resolution. The amendment expressed support for the approval and construction of the pipeline and passed with a bipartisan vote of 62 to 37. It was mostly a symbolic vote because the budget resolution does not become law and isn't binding. But the vote demonstrates strong support within the Senate for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Q: How has President Obama delayed the Keystone XL?
A: Authority for siting oil pipelines generally lies with the states, but the construction of facilities at the U.S. border for exporting or importing petroleum or other fuels requires a Presidential Permit issued by the Department of State. In this case, consideration has been drawn out, most likely to try to stop the pipeline from being built. In 2008, TransCanada applied for a presidential permit from the State Department to construct and operate the pipeline. In January 2012, the State Department recommended that the Presidential permit be denied. The same day, the President stated his determination that the Keystone XL pipeline project would not serve the national interest. This year, in January, the Governor of Nebraska approved a proposed reroute of the Keystone XL pipeline to avoid the Sand Hills due to the area's unique soil properties. So, TransCanada reapplied to the State Department in May 2012, along the new route through Nebraska. This year, in March, the State Department released a draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) on the new Presidential permit application. The report basically found that the pipeline would not accelerate greenhouse gas emissions or significantly harm the environment along its route. A final decision from the State Department and the Obama Administration on whether to grant the Presidential permit is expected after expiration of the comment period for the draft SEIS at the end of this month.