In advance of President Obama’s State of the Union Address, Senators John Hoeven of North Dakota and John Barrasso of Wyoming led a letter signed by all Republican Senators pressing President Obama to deliver an answer on the Keystone XL pipeline. Hoeven has been at the forefront of the Senate effort to secure approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, with two majority votes in the Senate and several bipartisan letters to the president.
In 2011, Congress passed legislation requiring the president to issue a decision on the project within 60 days. In response, the president cited environmental concerns in Nebraska in delaying the project. In March 2012, 56 senators voted to approve the Keystone XL pipeline project using congressional authority. With two Republican members missing, the measure was shy of passing by just two votes.
In March 2013, the same month the president said he would make a decision on Keystone XL by the end of 2013, Senators Hoeven, Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Barrasso and others introduced a measure establishing a formal recognition by the U.S. Senate that the Keystone XL pipeline will benefit the nation. It passed with a bipartisan majority vote of 62 to 37. An alternative bill designed to derail the project failed, 33 to 66.
Again last fall, Hoeven, Barrasso and a bipartisan group of senators authored a concurrent resolution declaring the Keystone XL pipeline project in the national interest and calling on President Obama to approve it. The resolution notes that every study conducted by the State Department, including the most recent draft Environmental Impact Statement issued in May 2013, has found that no significant impacts to the environment would result and that greenhouse gas emissions would be minimal.
Read the full text of the letter.