Matt Dempsey (202) 224-9797

Katie Brown (202) 224-2160                                  

Inhofe Joins Republicans to Introduce Keystone Bill

Washington, D.C. - Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, today joined a number of Republican senators to introduce legislation that requires the Obama Administration to issue a construction permit for the Keystone XL pipeline within 60 days.  On November 10, 2011, President Obama's State Department announced that it will delay the Keystone XL pipeline decision until after the 2012 election. 

"I am pleased to join my Republican colleagues to introduce a bill that will require the Obama Administration to issue a construction permit for the Keystone pipeline," Senator Inhofe said. "Every time President Obama makes a speech, he talks about jobs and lessening our dependence on the Middle East.  There's not one piece of legislation in the House or Senate right now that would do more to achieve both of these goals than this Keystone bill that we are introducing today.   

"In my state of Oklahoma alone, we'd be creating 14,000 jobs with the Keystone pipeline.  Along with these new jobs, the pipeline would greatly enhance Cushing, Oklahoma's ability to distribute crude oil supplies. Existing pipeline infrastructure can't accommodate the current volume of crude oil, which makes us more dependent on imports and vulnerable to increasing prices.  The Keystone pipeline will improve both the inbound and outbound flow of crude oil at Cushing.  

"As for lessening our dependency on the Middle East, there are two things we can do: we can build this pipeline and we can start developing our own vast natural resources.  A recent Congressional Research Service report shows us that the United States has the largest recoverable resources of oil, gas and coal in the world.  The Obama administration's failure to appreciate this fact is one of the many reasons why they are not making progress on creating jobs and improving our economy.

"The President's decision to delay the Keystone pipeline further demonstrates that he is not giving up on his job-killing global warming agenda.  As global warming alarmist Bill McKibben said, 'There have been few even partial victories about global warming in recent years so [the Keystone decision] makes this an important day' as the delay 'will effectively kill the project.'

"This bill prevents this global warming ‘victory', it creates hundreds of thousands of jobs, and it allows us to make great strides towards energy security." 

The bill would:

 - Establish congressional affirmation that Keystone XL is good for job creation, economic growth, and national security;

 - Require the President, through the Secretary of State, to issue a permit within 60 days to allow the Keystone XL project to move ahead, unless he finds that it's not in the national interest; 

 - Require the permit for Keystone XL to contain strong and specific environmental protections and protect states' rights;

 - Require the federal permit to recognize an alternative route approved by Nebraska, protecting their ability to shift the route of the pipeline to avoid the Sand Hills area, while not holding up construction elsewhere;

 - Concludes more than three years of federal review by deeming the Final Environmental Impact Statement to be adequate.

Senators Richard Lugar (R-IN), John Hoeven (R-ND), and David Vitter (R-LA) are sponsors of this bill.  Co-sponsors include Senators James Inhofe (R-OK), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Pat Roberts (R-KS), John Barrasso (R-WY), Dan Coats (R-IN), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jerry Moran (R-KS), John Thune (R-SD), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Jim Risch (R-ID), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Rob Portman (R-OH), Richard Burr (R-NC), Richard Shelby (R-AL), John Boozman (R-AR), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Mike Lee (R-UT), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Dean Heller (R-NV), and Bob Corker (R-TN).  .