By Ben Geman - 11/07/12 04:07 PM EST
The proposed pipeline would bring Canadian oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries, and is also slated to carry oil from the booming Bakken formation in North Dakota and Montana.
The Keystone project has split Democrats, and President Obama has punted a decision on providing a cross-border permit into 2013.
Keystone is shaping up as a big post-election battle.
Environmental groups that bitterly oppose the project are planning a Nov. 18 demonstration at the White House against the pipeline.
But the oil industry issued a post-election statement urging the victorious president to support the project.
“Right off the bat, the president can approve the Keystone Pipeline and put thousands of Americans to work immediately,” American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard said in a statement Wednesday.
Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said he expects the Obama administration will approve the project, Bloomberg reports.
Energy was a big topic in the Montana race, and Rehberg received more support from fossil fuel industry groups than Tester.
Rehberg seized the pro-coal mantle in a state that’s home to part of the Powder River Basin, the Northwest’s largest coal repository.
Rehberg hit Tester often for the incumbent’s June vote against a bill that would have blocked implementation of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules Republicans say harm the coal industry.
That stance helped Rehberg take in about $187,000 from the mining industry, according to campaign spending watchdog group Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecrets.org website.
Tester’s vote to preserve EPA rules helped earned him the support of green groups — notably the League of Conservation Voters, which spent $1.5 million on the race.
–Zack Colman contributed.
Updated at 2:54 p.m.