Bipartisan group of senators requests meeting with Obama on Keystone XL pipeline

“Setting politics aside: Nothing has changed about the thousands of jobs that Keystone XL will create,” the letter stated. “Nothing has changed about the energy security to be gained through an important addition to the existing pipeline network built with sound environmental stewardship and the best modern technology. Nothing has changed about the security to be gained from using more fuel produced at home and by a close and stable ally. And nothing has changed about the need for America to remain a place where businesses can still build things."

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Hoeven reiterated the message that the United States should work toward energy independence in a statement he released Friday.

“The Keystone XL pipeline represents not only thousands of jobs and growth for the nation’s economy, but also a big step toward American energy independence,” Hoeven said. “We can become energy independent in America within five to seven years, but we must commit to moving forward with important projects like the Keystone XL pipeline.”

In the letter, lawmakers brought up Obama’s directive from the spring, which allowed agencies to start work in Nebraska. The senators said the Nebraska work is nearly complete with its construction of its portion of the pipeline, and when it’s done, Obama should issue a permit so the rest of construction can start. The pipeline, in addition to transporting Canadian oil, is slated to carry oil from the booming Bakken formation in North Dakota and Montana.

“The state of Nebraska is nearing completion of the new pipeline route within Nebraska,” the letter stated. “With that process near completion, we look forward to an affirmative determination of national interest soon.

“We then urge you to issue a Presidential Permit immediately afterward.”

Baucus said the project was environmentally sounds and shouldn’t raise concerns.

“The election is over, people want us to work together to create jobs, and one sure way we can create jobs right now is by moving forward with construction on the Keystone XL Pipeline,” Baucus said in a statement Friday. “We’ve spent more than four years producing studies and addressing environmental and property concerns — there’s no excuse to keep Keystone jobs on hold any longer.”

Congress tried to force the president’s hand by mandating that he make a decision on the pipeline before the election, but Obama said more research was needed to determine the safety of the pipeline. Some speculated that Obama was waiting to make a decision on the pipeline until after the election to ensure he didn’t upset environmentalists in his base.

Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), David Vitter (R-La.) and Jim Webb (D-Va.) also signed the letter.

This article was updated at 3:40 p.m.