Keystone XL pipeline issue likely to reemerge in 2015

By The Bakken Magazine Staff | December 12, 2014

The Keystone XL pipeline issue could come to the forefront again in early 2015 when Republicans take control of the U.S. Senate. 

Although President Obama may veto a stand-alone Keystone XL bill, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., intends to introduce Keystone approval legislation within a broader energy package that he believes the president will not want to veto.

“I believe we will have the votes to pass the bill in January when a number of new senators who support my legislation take office and the new Congress begins,” Hoeven said.

A bill to approve the pipeline, sponsored in part by Hoeven, was defeated in the Senate last month by a single vote. Following the defeat, Hoeven said, “Even had it passed, President Obama has indicated that he intends to veto the bill.”

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., who voted in favor of the pipeline, said she is committed to completing the project and indicated that she would again support it in the 2015 Congress.

Last April, Heitkamp recruited 10 other Democrats to voice their support for the pipeline and to pressure the president to make a decision on the pipeline project that has been in limbo for six-plus years.

According to TransCanada, the company responsible for the build-out and operation of the pipeline that stretches from Canada to the Gulf, the U.S. Department of State’s Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement concluded that Keystone XL would create 42,000 direct and indirect jobs and $3.4 billion in U.S. gross domestic product and that 17 of the 29 counties Keystone XL would move through would see their property taxes increase by more than 10 percent.

“We put 9,000 Americans to work building the first two phases of the pipeline back in 2009/2010. We hired another 5,000 to build the southern leg of the project two years ago, and we want to put 9,000 more Americans to work to finish what we started,” TransCanada said.

The Keystone XL would run through Baker, Montana, a receiving point for Bakken crude that would be transported to refiners, including Valero, along the Gulf Coast.