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Bridget Johnson

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January 23, 2013 - 12:04 pm

Nine Democrats joined Senate Republicans in calling on President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline now.

Even though Nebraska’s governor has approved a new route of the Keystone XL pipeline through his state, the State Department signaled yesterday it won’t make a decision until at least the second quarter of this year.

With his confirmation hearing set for Thursday, that gives plenty of time for environmentalist Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) to be in place as the new head of the department.

“Nebraska has now addressed the outstanding concerns you raised when you denied the permit, and we therefore urge you to finish expeditiously the review process and approve the pipeline,” the 53-strong bipartisan group wrote to Obama.

“Canada plans to develop this oil resource and the only question is whether we receive the oil from our friend and ally or whether Canada is forced to look for new partners in Asia because we turned them away,” they added. “On March 22, 2012, you directed federal agencies to accelerate approval of vital energy infrastructure projects like the Keystone XL Pipeline. We strongly urge you to direct the State Department to accelerate the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) and quickly complete the National Interest Determination.”

The letter was presented to reporters at a news conference today led by Sens. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Max Baucus (D-Mont.). Also attending were Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), David Vitter (R-La.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.).

In addition to the Democrats at the press conference, Sens. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), and Mark Begich (D-Alaska) signed the letter.

“Some constituencies have called on you to deny the pipeline and the jobs and energy security associated with it. Because the pipeline has gone through the most exhaustive environmental scrutiny of any pipeline in the history of this country, and you already determined that oil from Canada is in the national interest, there is no reason to deny or further delay this long-studied project,” they wrote.

“We ask you not to move the goalposts as opponents of this project have pressed you to do. We urge you to choose jobs, economic development and American energy security. It is vital for the country that you promptly finalize the SEIS and the National Interest Determination and approve the pipeline.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.
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