A trio of Senators from both sides of the aisle are co-sponsoring a bill that would authorize construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, but even they don't think it will get through the current congressional logjam.
Thebill, sponsored by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee chairman Mary Landrieu (D-LA), ranking committee member Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), and approved by the committee Wednesday, is likely to suffer the same fate as other pro-Keystone bills (S 582 and S 2280) which have never been brought to the Senate floor for votes.
"I think we need to be cautious in overselling it here," Murkowski said Wednesday. "The House passed a bill to approve Keystone more than a year ago, our committee vote to approve the project that I believe is absolutely in the national interest, and one that's been pending since 2008, I think should be an easy lift for us here in the committee. But the real challenge, as we know, is getting an actual vote on the Senate floor, where we have seen these Keystone bills languish before."
The committee's 12-10 vote to send the legislation to the full Senate was mostly along party lines, with Republicans, joined by Landrieu, voting for the bill, and Democrats voting against it.
"This is about what the future of our energy policy should look like," Landrieu said. "I believe that working with Canada and Mexico to build a North American energy alliance that supports the needs of this nation and a growing economy is critical."
The 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline requires State Department approval because it would cross an international border. TransCanada Corp. submitted a presidential permit application for the $7 billion project -- designed to carry heavy crude from the Canadian oilsands from Morgan, MT, to Steele City, NE -- in 2012 (see Shale Daily, May 7, 2012).
The project has met a series of delays since it was first proposed (see Shale Daily, April 21, Jan. 13, 2013), despite a hefty 70% of U.S. voters saying they want the project (see Daily GPI, April 4, 2013).
"The reality is that if this project is going to get approved, Congress is going to have to do it," Hoeven said. "The President is clearly not going to approve it."