January 30, 2012

Manchin, Bipartisan Group Introduce Legislation to Approve the Keystone XL Pipeline

Keystone XL Pipeline has support of business and labor groups, would reduce dependence on oil from hostile countries

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and a bipartisan group of 43 other Senators today announced that they will introduce legislation to create American jobs by approving the Keystone XL pipeline project under Congress’s authority enumerated in the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8. The Keystone XL pipeline project would transport oil from Canada to the United States. The project has earned the strong support of both business and labor, and this bipartisan group of senators is committed to working together to advance this critical project for the United States to reduce our dependence on oil from hostile countries and create good-paying American jobs. 

“As our country continues to need oil, common sense tells me I’d rather buy it from our friends in Canada, not countries around the world that seek to do us harm,” Senator Manchin said. “I’d rather buy from our closest ally and create jobs in America than push Canada to build a pipeline out to the West Coast of North America so that it ends up going to China. There is no question, this pipeline is a job creator with support of both labor and business. It needs to be built not for the benefit of one political party or one state, but for the benefit of America.”  

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 allows the company to move forward with construction of the pipeline in the United States while the state of Nebraska works to determine an alternative route. 

The Keystone XL pipeline project has been under review for more than three years, but President Obama rejected it last week, saying a 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 has already spent 1,217 days reviewing the pipeline. 


The Keystone XL pipeline would create thousands of jobs, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 

The Keystone XL pipeline has been subject to rigorous environmental analysis for more than three years, and was on schedule to be decided on by the U.S. State Department by the end of 2011. By contrast, the original Keystone pipeline took two years to review and became operational last year. 

The legislation 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. 

Further, 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.