Sen. Murkowski: Keystone Bill Promotes U.S. Jobs, Energy Security

Murkowski Joins Lugar, Hoeven and Others on Bill Establishing Firm Timeline for Pipeline Decision

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today cosponsored legislation that would require the Obama administration to issue a construction permit for the Keystone XL pipeline within 60 days.

“A decision on Keystone is pretty straightforward – we’re either serious about creating jobs and spurring economic growth or we’re not. There’s no downside here. The Obama administration has put politics ahead of common sense and I think this legislation will help ensure federal review of the line is put back on track,” Murkowski said. “Green-lighting the Keystone line would create thousands of jobs and increase our supply of oil from our closest ally and biggest trading partner.”

The 1,700 mile pipeline, which would transport 700,000 barrels of oil a day from Canada and the U.S. Bakken region to U.S. refineries, represents the largest shovel-ready infrastructure project in the United States and it’s privately funded – requiring no new government spending. The $7-billion pipeline would generate an estimated 20,000 new jobs directly and support hundreds of thousands of jobs in coming years.

As the ranking member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Murkowski has been an outspoken proponent of the Keystone line and was critical of the president’s decision to put off a decision on whether to approve necessary permits for the line until after the 2012 election.

“We currently import more than half of the oil we use, too often from countries that do not have the same level of environmental standards followed in Canada and the United States. For the sake of the world’s environment, we should give preference to suppliers who share our values,” Murkowski said. “Canada is our most reliable and secure oil supplier and our biggest trading partner. If we reject Canadian oil, others will happily take it, and we will find ourselves more dependent on oil from more distant and more volatile nations.”

The bill would:

  • Establish congressional affirmation that Keystone XL is good for job creation, economic growth, and national security;
  • Require the President, through the Secretary of State, to issue a permit within 60 days to allow the Keystone XL project to move ahead, unless he finds that it’s not in the national interest; 
  • Require the permit for Keystone XL to contain strong and specific environmental protections and protect states’ rights;
  • Require the federal permit to recognize an alternative route approved by Nebraska, protecting their ability to shift the route of the pipeline to avoid the Sand Hills area, while not holding up construction elsewhere;
  • Concludes more than three years of federal review by deeming the Final Environmental Impact Statement to be adequate.

In addition to Sens. Lugar (R-IN) and John Hoeven (R-ND), lead cosponsors include David Vitter (R-LA). Additional co-sponsors include Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Pat Roberts (R-KS), John Barrasso (R-WY), Dan Coats (R-IN), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Jerry Moran (R-KS), John Thune (R-SD), and Ron Johnson (R-WI). The bill has a total of 37 cosponsors.

Watch video of Wednesday’s press conference on the introduction of the Keystone bill here.