Keystone Pipeline to be a Test of the President’s Willingness to Work with New Congress

After taking control of the U.S. Senate, Republicans now say they will move quickly to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, the one already built in Oklahoma and Texas but waiting for approval from Canada to Nebraska.

During his Wednesday afternoon news conference at the White House, President Obama said an independent process is underway.

“I will note that while a debate over Canadian oil has been raging, we have seen some of the biggest increases in production of American oil and natural gas,” said the president in response to a question about the pipeline.

Earlier as Republicans still celebrated their takeover of the Senate, North Dakota Senator John Hoevern said the GOP will move quickly on the issue. It’s what he told the Reuters news service.

“I think Keystone will be one of the first bills we’ll be able to put up in the new Congress,” said Hoeven. “I’ve got a bill right now that’s got about 56 co-sponsors. And with the election results, we’ll have over 60 who clearly support the legislation.”

The pipeline could carry as much as 830,000 barrels a day of Alberta oil sands crude to the Gulf Coast but the President said it needs his approval because it crosses an international border. Even if the House and Senate pass a Keystone bill, it would still need the President’s signature to become law. Senator Hoevern suggested it could become a test to see if the President is willing to work with the new Congress.

Also on Wednesday, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka issued a call for the GOP controlled congress to approve the pipeline because it would boost the nation’s economy. It’s what he said in a post-election press conference.

Montana Senator-elect Steve Daines was asked about the pipeline in an interview with Fox News.

“That, I think, should be a layup for the President,” he responded. “The Keystone Pipeline enters Montana first and it should be about jobs. It’s about tax revenue and energy independence.”

Daines, who served in the U.S. House and won with 58 percent of the votes, becoming the state’s first Republican Senator since 1913, called the pipeline a tremendous opportunity for the nation that the American people are behind.

“I think energy security becomes a key issue for our country as we look at what we need to do here for the next generation,” added Daines. “I think this’ll be a real test for the President—will he decide to lead with congress working together or will he maintain this ideological approach and stop progress like this Keystone pipeline.”


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