Idaho Congressman Simpson today supported H.R. 5682, a bill to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would put an end to years of bureaucratic delays and allow construction of the Keystone XL pipeline project.
The Keystone XL pipeline would transport crude oil from the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada, to refineries in the United States. Because the pipeline would connect the United States with a foreign country, it requires a Presidential Permit issued by the State Department. The State Department must find that the project would serve the national interest before it can issue the permit.
The first application to the U.S. State Department to build the pipeline was submitted in 2008, and after a thorough environmental review, in 2011 an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) found that the pipeline would have limited adverse environmental impacts during its construction and operation. Despite this, President Obama denied the Presidential Permit request in January of 2012, requiring the permitting process to begin anew. The State Department issued a second Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement in January of 2014, confirming once again that the pipeline would have limited adverse environmental impact.
“Moving forward with the permitting of the Keystone XL pipeline will create jobs and reduce our dependence on unstable foreign sources of oil,” said Simpson. “The President is yet again playing political games with our energy security, and ignoring the benefits of this project without a scientific basis for doing so.”
Canadian pipeline company TransCanada has estimated that it will invest $7 billion in the United States to build the pipeline, and that up to 20,000 jobs would be directly created by the pipeline’s construction. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the Keystone XL pipeline would be able to move 830,000 barrels of oil per day, which represents about half of the amount the U.S. imports from the Middle East.
“This project has broad bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, and it has been reviewed and studied for six years and found to be environmentally safe,” Simpson said. “I hope the Senate and the President approve this bill quickly, because the economic and energy security implications for this country are too important to delay any longer.”
H.R. 5682 authorizes the construction, connection, operation, and maintenance of the Keystone XL pipeline. The bill deems the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement issued by the Secretary of State in January of 2014 sufficient to satisfy all the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and any other federal law that requires federal agency consultation or review.
The House passed H.R. 5682 by a vote of 252-161. It will now move to the Senate for further consideration.