By Ben Geman - 11/16/12 08:49 PM EST
Nothing has changed about the thousands of jobs that Keystone XL will create. 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.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellTrump slams Obama for ‘shameful’ 9/11 bill veto GOP chairman lobbies against overriding Obama on 9/11 bill Black Caucus demands Flint funding from GOP MORE (R-Ky.) also signed the letter. It requests a meeting with Obama in the “near future.” The White House did not comment.
The Nov. 16 letter signals that TransCanada Corp.’s proposed pipeline, which would transport Canadian oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries, will remain a priority for proponents and foes alike.
Environmentalists are staging a demonstration at the White House on Sunday urging Obama to reject the project, which has played a starring role in political battles over energy and climate policy over the past year.
The pipeline has been politically thorny terrain for Obama, who in late 2011 punted a decision on the project until after the 2012 elections. A final determination is expected in early 2013.
Environmental groups bitterly oppose the project due to greenhouse gas emissions from extracting and burning oil sands, forest damage from the massive projects in Alberta, and fears of spills along the route.
But the project has strong support from business groups, and many unions, which like green groups are a key part of Obama’s political base.
The pipeline, in addition to transporting Canadian oil, is slated to carry oil from the booming Bakken formation in North Dakota and Montana. It would also traverse Montana.
“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.
Hoeven said moving ahead with the pipeline would be a “big step toward American energy independence.”
The other senators that signed the letter are:
Sens. John BarrassoJohn BarrassoGOP pressures Kerry on Russia's use of Iranian airbase Tribes open new front in fight over pipelines Pipeline delay stirs anger, but not yet action, on Capitol Hill MORE (R-Wyo.), Mark BegichMark BegichRyan's victory trumps justice reform opponents There is great responsibility being in the minority Senate GOP deeply concerned over Trump effect MORE (D-Alaska), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Kay HaganKay HaganPhoto finish predicted for Trump, Clinton in North Carolina Are Senate Republicans facing an election wipeout? Clinton's lead in NC elevates Senate race MORE (D-N.C.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Mike JohannsMike JohannsTo buy a Swiss company, ChemChina must pass through Washington Republican senator vows to block nominees over ObamaCare co-ops Revisiting insurance regulatory reform in a post-crisis world MORE (R-Neb.), Mary LandrieuMary LandrieuLouisiana needs Caroline Fayard as its new senator La. Senate contender books seven-figure ad buy Crowded field muddies polling in Louisiana Senate race MORE (D-La.), Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), Joe ManchinJoe ManchinDemocrat vows to go after opioid makers – including daughter's company Overnight Healthcare: McConnell unveils new Zika package | Manchin defends daughter on EpiPens | Bill includes M for opioid crisis Democrat defends daughter after tough EpiPen grilling MORE (D-W.Va.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiOvernight Energy: Obama integrates climate change into national security planning GOP pressures Kerry on Russia's use of Iranian airbase Overnight Energy: Lawmakers kick off energy bill talks MORE (R-Alaska), Rob PortmanRob PortmanSenate rivals gear up for debates Funding bill includes million for opioid crisis Senate panel approves pension rescue for coal miners MORE (R-Ohio), Mark PryorMark PryorCotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Top Democrats are no advocates for DC statehood MORE (D-Ark.), Jon TesterJon TesterOvernight Healthcare: Mylan CEO to defend record on EpiPens | Medical cures bill delayed to lame duck | House GOP hopeful about Zika deal Tribes open new front in fight over pipelines Dem lawmakers: Clinton should have disclosed illness sooner MORE (D-Mont.), David VitterDavid VitterGOP pressures Kerry on Russia's use of Iranian airbase Louisiana needs Caroline Fayard as its new senator Louisiana Republicans: This isn’t like Sandy MORE (R-La.) and Jim Webb (D-Va.).