U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) on Wednesday cosponsored legislation to increase oil availability by directing the Secretary of State to issue a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline to the U.S. from Canada. The proposed 1,700 mile pipeline would transport 700,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada and Bakken region of the United States to refineries in the southern region of the country.
Despite a three-year review and two environmental studies, President Obama recently deferred making any decision on the pipeline permit until 2013.
"North America possesses tremendous energy resources, but the Obama Administration refuses to utilize what we have in a responsible way," said Wicker. "Reliable access to plentiful oil and gas supplies could help prevent price spikes due to unrest in the Middle East and other parts of the world. The Keystone XL pipeline is also an opportunity to create tens of thousands of good jobs here in America."
"The regulatory and environmental review requirements for this proposed pipeline have been met, and delaying its construction is uncalled for," Cochran said. "This legislation addresses ongoing concerns about this project and allows our nation to begin harnessing the energy and economic benefits associated with it."
The North American Energy Security Act (S.1932) would require the Secretary of State to issue a permit within 60 days unless the President publicly determines that the project is not in the nation's interest. In addition, the legislation calls for permit to include rigorous environmental standards. The bill, introduced by Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), has 37 original cosponsors including Wicker and Cochran.
An estimated 20,000 jobs would be created to build the pipeline for the $7 billion project. In development for almost five years, the Keystone XL pipeline is currently the nation's largest pending infrastructure project.
Canada's oil sands are among the largest oil reserves in the world. As global demand for oil surges and Canada increases production, the addition of the Keystone XL pipeline will ensure that Americans benefit from reliable and secure oil from the United States' largest trading partner.