A group of senators — 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans — leaned on Secretary of State John Kerry today to approve the Keystone XL pipeline within the first quarter of the year.
The State Department is involved in the permitting process because the pipeline crosses the Canadian border.
“As you begin your tenure as Secretary of State, we urge you to make the timely approval of the Keystone XL pipeline one of your top priorities,” said the short letter led by Sens. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Max Baucus (D-Mont.).
“The State Department received the new route approved by the state of Nebraska on January 22, 2013, but the Department has yet to inform the public and stakeholders of a definitive process for the final decision. We urge you as Secretary of State to ensure that this decision process be completed promptly.”
The letter was signed by Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Kay Hagan (D- N.C.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), David Vitter (R-La.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.).
“As you noted in your recent discussions with the Canadian Foreign Minister, John Baird, we have an important energy relationship with Canada,” the senators wrote to their former congressional colleague. “The Keystone XL pipeline will supply both energy from our closest friend and partner and create jobs in the United States. Further delay will continue to hurt job creation and may damage our relationship with Canada. We cannot afford more delay.”
The pipeline has been under review for nearly four and half years and was recently rerouted to allay concerns of Nebraska.
Kerry’s first speech nearly a week ago at the University of Virginia made no direction of Keystone XL, but gave hints about his environmentalist priorities.
“We as a nation must have the foresight and courage to make the investments necessary to safeguard the most sacred trust we keep for our children and grandchildren: an environment not ravaged by rising seas, deadly superstorms, devastating droughts and the other hallmarks of a dramatically changing climate,” Kerry said.
“If we waste this opportunity, it may be the only thing our generation — generations — are remembered for. We need to find the courage to leave a far different legacy.”