Mar 24 2017
Heitkamp: Presidential Approval of Keystone XL is Commonsense Step Forward for U.S. Energy Infrastructure Expansion
Senator Has Long Pushed to Approve the Pipeline, Gathering Critical Bipartisan Support for Bill from Other Democrats for Legislation’s 2015 Passage in the Senate
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today issued the following statement after the Trump Administration announced that they had granted a presidential permit to construct the Keystone XL pipeline.
“For almost a decade our country has been distracted by the politicization of a commonsense, energy infrastructure expansion project – that’s why the State Department’s approval this morning of TransCanada’s permit to construct the Keystone XL pipeline is a needed step in moving the country beyond the over-heated rhetoric so we can focus on an all-of-the-above energy strategy,” said Heitkamp. “Tough talk about infrastructure and diverse energy needs is easy – but that talk needs to be followed by real actions. Now that the Administration has cleared this hurdle for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, TransCanada can continue its work to secure the remaining pieces necessary to begin construction. While there are still several steps before construction can begin, today’s announcement is important to renewing the United States’ commitment toward mutually beneficial energy solutions with Canada. It’s my hope that we can roll up our up our sleeves and take the real, pragmatic steps our country needs to become energy secure. For years I’ve been working from the middle out to persuade cooler heads to prevail on this project in the U.S. Senate, and I’m ready to get to work.”
Heitkamp has long supported projects to diversify North America’s energy infrastructure, including through the Keystone XL pipeline’s construction. Since arriving in the U.S. Senate, Heitkamp has been working across the aisle to help move the project forward – building essential Democratic support for a bipartisan Senate bill to approve the Keystone pipeline. In addition to calling for bipartisan support for the bill in November 2014, Heitkamp recruited 10 other Democratic senators in April 2014 – key support that was vital for the bill’s passage in the Senate – to join her efforts to put pressure on the president to make a decision on the pipeline.
Heitkamp has repeatedly taken action to move the Keystone XL pipeline forward, including:
- January 24, 2017 – Heitkamp welcomed news of a Presidential Memoranda signaling a path forward for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
- November 6, 2015 – Heitkamp expressed disappointment in the president’s decision to deny a permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline – essentially blocking the project.
- November 2, 2015 – Heitkamp expressed disappointment in the over-politicization of a basic infrastructure expansion project that resulted, after more than seven years of delay, in TransCanada suspending its permit request to build the Keystone XL pipeline.
- March 4, 2015 – Heitkamp expressed disappointment following the failure of the Senate to gather a sufficient number of votes to override President Obama’s veto of the Senate and House-passed bill to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
- February 24, 2015 – Expressed disappointment in President Obama’s veto of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives-passed bill to prove the Keystone XL pipeline.
- February 11, 2015 – Welcomed the approval of the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in the U.S. House of Representatives.
- January 29, 2015 – Voted to approve the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in the U.S. Senate.
- January 26, 2015 – Voted to move Keystone XL pipeline approval forward.
- January 22, 2015 – Introduced five common-sense, workable energy solutions as amendments to the bill to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline that would have strengthened the nation’s commitment to a path forward for coal energy, increased certainty for wind energy workers, cut bureaucratic red-tape for Native tribes seeking to drill oil on their reservations, and improved rail and pipeline oil transportation safety as well as resources and tools for first responders.
- January 7, 2015 – Spoke on the Senate floor and urged her colleagues to support legislation that would approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
- November 18, 2014 – Voted for legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, but the legislation did not receive enough votes in the Senate.
- May 1, 2014 – Helped introduce legislation to fully approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
- April 10, 2014 – Recruited 10 Democratic Senators to join her call for President to make a decision on Keystone XL pipeline.
- February 4, 2014 – Brought together bipartisan, bicameral group of legislators and labor, business and national security leaders to call for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.
- January 15, 2014 – Met with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird and Canadian Ambassador to the United States Gary Doer to discuss the importance of the Keystone XL pipeline to energy interests on both sides of the border.
- September 13, 2013 – Wrote to the President on the five year anniversary of the application, highlighting her trip to Canada to see the oil sands first hand.
- August 20, 2013 – Traveled to Canada to discuss the project and see the oil sands firsthand.
- July 23, 2013 – Addressed national opinion leaders and made the case for Administration approval of the project.
- June 25, 2013 – Worked together with the North Dakota Congressional delegation to lay out the facts surrounding the project.
- March 22, 2013 – Voted in favor of the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
- March 15, 2013 – Worked with Republican Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer to keep pressure on the State Department.
- February 22, 2013 – Urged U.S. State Department Secretary John Kerry, as soon as he took over the State Department, to make the project a top priority.
- January 23, 2013 – Called on the President to approve the project following Nebraska’s approval of a new route.