The past two days we have seen strong bipartisan efforts from both chambers of Congress to move forward with approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. In a time when you don’t seen much partisan agreement, members from both sides agree that Keystone XL would be good for our economy and energy security.
Just today Congressman Lee Terry introduced legislation in the House that would approve Keystone XL. The legislation has support from House Democrats John Barrow and Jim Matheson who both attended a press conference this morning urging passage. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton said he was aiming to get the bill to the floor of the House by Memorial Day.
Yesterday, Senators Baucus and Hoeven unveiled bi-partisan legislation that would approve the Keystone XL pipeline without any further action required by the President, or the Department of State. Baucus and Hoeven were joined by 12 other Senators in support of their legislation and these Senators were evenly divided between democrats and republicans (Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), David Vitter (R-La.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.).
Most people will tell you that Washington is broken and that they can’t get anything done. Despite the current state of the Senate and House there are issues and areas where Democrats and Republicans want to work together and are reaching across the aisle to do so. This is a good example of members of the House and Senate understanding the importance of this energy project and what it will mean in terms of energy security, economic growth and a better relationship with our Canadian neighbors.
The Canadian oil sands will continue to be mined, refined and exported regardless of what happens to the Keystone XL project. The question has never been if oil will be exported, it has been where will be exported. Keystone XL is about economic growth and having the energy to power the economic growth.
Manufacturers use one-third of the energy consumed in this country and in many instances lower energy costs are allowing us to complete in a global market place in ways that we have not been able to do for years. Oil from Canada allows us to rely less on countries throughout the world that are hostile to America and our way of life.
These members of Congress understand the importance of this project in terms of economics, national security and energy. They are willing to put partisanship aside to do what is best for our country and our economy.
Chip Yost is assistant vice president of energy and resources policy, National Association of Manufacturers.