By Frank Lewis
Republican leaders continue to express their desires for what they would like to see President Obama address in his State of the Union Address Address this week.
U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) Friday joined all Republican Senators in signing a letter, led by Senators John Hoeven of North Dakota and John Barrasso of Wyoming, pressing President Obama to deliver an answer on the Keystone XL pipeline.
We have started yet another calendar year with no decision from your administration on the Keystone XL pipeline. TransCanada filed the original application for a Presidential Permit in 2008, and we are still waiting on the Department of State to issue a final environmental impact statement (EIS) for this project,” the letter read. “On March 14, 2013, at a meeting with Senate Republicans, you were asked when we could expect a final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. At that time, you told us that a decision on the Presidential Permit would be made before the end of the year. We are well into 2014 and you still have not made a decision.”
Portman said the Keystone XL pipeline project, awaiting a second environmental review from the U.S. State Department, would impact Ohio manufacturers directly, including Emerson Process Management in Ontario, Ohio. As reported by the Mansfield News Journal, TransCanada, the owner of the Keystone pipeline, is a customer of Emerson.
“With American families struggling to find jobs and feeling pinched at the pump, we need the Keystone pipeline now more than ever. It would create tens of thousands of jobs and would be a welcome boost to Ohio’s manufacturing sector,” Portman said.
The correspondence goes on to say, “We need a safe and efficient system to transport crude oil in this country. The Keystone XL pipeline is a vital piece of the puzzle. The entire project is a $7 billion, 1,700-mile, high-tech transcontinental pipeline. It would create a significant number of private-sector jobs without any cost to American taxpayers. Your own Department of State has estimated that the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline could support 42,000 jobs across the country.”
The letter concludes, “On January 22, 2013, the State of Nebraska approved a modified route for the Keystone XL pipeline. The Department of State then closed its comment period on the draft supplemental EIS on April 22, 2013—notably, a year after you personally directed Federal agencies to make more ‘timely’ decisions on infrastructure projects. Your administration has had more than enough time to issue a final EIS and make a decision on the pipeline.
Given the length of time your administration has studied the Keystone XL pipeline and the public’s overwhelming support for it, you should not further delay a decision to issue a Presidential Permit. We, therefore, request that you issue the final EIS and Presidential Permit approving the pipeline as soon as possible and tell us when we can expect your decision.”
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.