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From The Mailbag: Keystone XL Pipeline

Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

As active participants in the decisions made in Congress, Idahoans contact me with valuable input about the issues our country faces.  Realizing that many may not have the chance to contact me, I post the top five issues of concern from Idahoans and my responses on my website.  The top issues constituents have contacted me about recently include interest in the Keystone XL pipeline project.  The following is my response:

Canadian oil company TransCanada has been working with the U.S. Department of State since 2008 to secure approval of the necessary permits to construct the Keystone XL pipeline, an international oil infrastructure project.  The Keystone XL pipeline would be an extension of the existing Keystone pipeline and would transport Canadian sedimentary oil deposits in Alberta to refineries in Texas.  Approval of this project was originally denied by the Obama Administration on January 18, 2012.  However, TransCanada reapplied for the necessary permits shortly thereafter with a revised proposal, and the Department of State released a draft environmental impact statement as it reviewed TransCanada's most recent application on March 1, 2013. 

On January 31, 2014, the State Department released its final environmental impact statement.  Similar to the draft analysis, the final statement again concluded that the development of oil sands in Alberta, Canada, would not be significantly altered with the Keystone XL pipeline.  A decision not to permit the pipeline would lead to the development and shipment of Canadian oil sands crude via alternative methods, including by rail and barge, to crude oil customers elsewhere.

S. 2280, a bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, was introduced by Senator John Hoeven (R-North Dakota).  This measure would have authorized TransCanada to construct and operate the pipeline, as well as the facilities needed to maintain it.  On November 18, 2014, the bill was brought to the floor of the Senate, where it was defeated by a vote of 59 to 41, with a 3/5 majority required for passage under the established rules.

I support the approval of Keystone XL as it would provide a significant economic boost to our country.  The $7 billion privately-funded pipeline project would create thousands of jobs and provide tax revenue to states along its route.  Additionally, this project can help North America increase its energy security by reducing reliance on foreign resources from volatile countries and regions around the globe.  The recent report issued by the Department of State further confirms that the development of this resource will continue with or without approval by the United States. 

The Administration should deem this project to be in the United States' national interest so the American people can begin to realize the benefits of this project and not miss out on an important economic opportunity.  I recognize the importance of this issue to our nation and will continue to ensure Idaho's views are represented at the national level. 

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