Hoeven amendment would greenlight Keystone XL

Hoeven, like many other Republicans, framed Keystone XL as an employment issue.

“We want American veterans to have real job opportunities in the United States,” Hoeven said Thursday on the Senate floor. “TransCanada, the company proposing to build the Keystone XL pipeline, has a program to hire former service men and women on both sides of the border, but unfortunately, American vets now have to go to Canada to get them.”

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Republicans say the project will create jobs and increase cheap energy supplies, but environmentalists and some Democrats are concerned about potential pipeline leaks and boosting fossil fuel use.

Many groups, as well as Democrats and Republicans, disagree on elements of Keystone XL’s ability to create jobs.

Those opposing the pipeline say the 20,000 jobs figure TransCanada put forth is inflated, largely by counting employment that carries over into the second year of construction as a new job. On top of that, 13,000 of those jobs would be temporary construction gigs.

But project proponents say the pipeline will spur 7,000 new manufacturing jobs to build components for the pipeline. Supporters also say it will create thousands — possibly hundreds of thousands —of indirect jobs in the future.

TransCanada attempted to satiate environmentalists by rerouting parts of the northern U.S. leg in Nebraska. The firm said the new route proposed last week would limit conflicts with highly erodible land known as the Sandhills, as well as the Ogallala Aquifer, a vital source of drinking water.

Hoeven’s amendment would respect Nebraska’s review process, a Hoeven aide told The Hill on Thursday.