January 06, 2015

Manchin, Hoeven Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Approve Keystone XL Pipeline in New Congress

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) today introduced 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 Hoeven-Manchin bill, S.1, is the first piece of legislation brought to the floor in the 114th Congress. Sixty senators are cosponsoring the bill, and 63 senators have indicated support for the legislation at this point.

The senators, both of whom serve on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee (ENR), are also working to bring the bill through the committee and to the floor for debate with an open process for amendments. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated the new Congress will mark a return to regular order, with debate and opportunities to amend bills. The Senate energy committee plans to hold a hearing on the measure Wednesday at 10 a.m. and a vote on the legislation at a business meeting on Thursday at 10 a.m. in room 366 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

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, which includes 100,000 barrels a day from the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana. Upon passage, a presidential permit would no longer be needed to approve the project.

The measure formally recognizes the most recent State Department final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) released in January of 2014, which concludes that construction of the Keystone XL pipeline would have no significant impact on the environment, nor would it make any difference in the development of the Canadian oil sands.

The Keystone XL pipeline is basic infrastructure like rail, roads and transmission lines that the United States needs to make the nation energy secure, the senators said.  This kind of infrastructure is a vital part of a comprehensive energy plan for the country.

“I am encouraged that the Keystone XL pipeline project will come to a vote on the Senate floor as one of the first pieces of legislation for the 114th Congress,” Manchin said. “We have everything to gain by building this pipeline, especially since it would help create thousands of jobs right here at home and limit our dependence on foreign oil. Every state – including West Virginia – would benefit economically from this activity. It is my sincere hope that we can once and for all move forward with this important project.”

“Working with Canada we can achieve true North American energy security and also help our allies,” Hoeven said. “For us to continue to produce more energy and compete in the global market we need more pipelines to move crude at the lowest cost and in the safest and most environmentally friendly way. That means that pipelines like the Keystone XL are in the vital national interest of our country. The project will create thousands of jobs, boost our economy, reduce our reliance on Middle Eastern oil and make our country more secure.”

The Keystone XL pipeline project has been under review for more than six years, with five environmental reports completed to date.