Hoeven: Russian action shows need for Keystone pipeline

Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) said Russia’s power grab in Ukraine proved that the United States would be more secure if it partnered with Canada to ensure a steady flow of fuel by building the Keystone XL pipeline.

Russian President Vladimir Putin recently invaded Crimea, which then held an election and decided to secede from Ukraine. European countries have said Putin’s action was motivated by control over natural gas in the region. Before Putin’s military intervention in Crimea, Ukraine had ousted its Russian-backed leader.

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“In Ukraine, we saw a people fighting for freedom, but frustrated and fearful in their aspirations because of their energy dependence on Russia,” Hoeven said Wednesday. “Europe gets half of its natural gas from Russia and about 30 percent of that is piped through Ukraine, with a Russian hand on the shut-off valve. We can avoid that in the United States by recommitting to our dynamic trade relationship with Canada, our closest friend and ally and our largest trading partner.”

The Keystone XL pipeline would move oil from tar sands in Canada through the middle of the United States to Gulf Coast refineries. Hoeven said the project would benefit both countries.

“Both countries stand to benefit by a robust trade partnership, economically and in terms of national security,” Hoeven said.

Environmentalists have expressed concerns about the project, and the administration has delayed its approval for nearly five years. 

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