A group of senators led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), and Sen. John Hoeven, (R-N.D.) presented new legislation Wednesday on Capitol Hill that gives the Obama administration 60 days to approve the production of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

If passed, the Secretary of State must issue a construction permit for the $7 billion pipeline that will bring Alberta crude oil to refineries on the U.S. gulf coast, unless the president determines that it is “not in the national interest.”

“If the administration would simply get out of the way and allow it to go forward, it would create jobs almost immediately – lots of jobs,” said Sen. McConnell.

The Administration was widely expected to approve the project by year’s end, but environmental activists voiced strong objections to the construction of a project that would involve a potentially-vulnerable pipeline traversing multiple states. The White House recently announced it would postpone any decision until after the 2012 election.

McConnell accused the president of playing politics. “There is absolutely no reason to delay a permit decision on the Keystone pipeline, and the jobs that come with it, for another year in a blatant attempt to appease the President’s political base. This is the definition of shovel-ready jobs,” McConnell said.

National Resources Defense Council’s Anthony Swift posted on a blog Wednesday afternoon his reaction to the GOP proposal saying, “The bill ignores the voices of Americans across the country who have asked the President to consider their serious concerns about the impact Keystone XL would have on landowners, the environment and our country’s energy future.”America currently imports about two million barrels a day from Canada. Lawmakers stressed that if approved the U.S. would see that figure increase by another 700,000 barrels. That gain alone would be more than the U.S. currently imports from Venezuela.

Continue reading →