Another new year is on the way, and yet another pro-Keystone XL pipeline advertising campaign is set to launch. This time, the leader of the American Petroleum Institute said the Obama administration has run out of excuses.
The Senate may not need a veto-proof majority to move the project to reality, API President and CEO Jack Gerard told reporters on Friday. Part of the reason, he said, is that the project enjoys growing bipartisan support.
“There are lots of ways to resolve a matter like this,” Gerard said. Keystone is expected to have 63 or 64 yes votes in the Senate, just short of the needed 67 to override a presidential veto, he said. The Nebraska Supreme Court was expected to issue a ruling Friday morning on the pipeline route, but that did not occur, according to the court’s website.
With Nebraska nearing a final decision on the pipeline route, Gerard said he believes the time has come for the president to approve construction of the pipeline, especially with the incoming Republican majority in the U.S. Senate and a lack of pending elections.
A number of environmental groups and Nebraska farmers and ranchers have continued to stand against the pipeline for fear that potential leaks would harm fragile ground and water supplies in the Sand Hills.
Gerard said his industry is prepared to spend “significant resources” in the upcoming year to fund an advertising campaign aimed at pressing for approval of the pipeline, though he was unsure about when that campaign would start.
The industry is staying the course despite all the delays on the project, he said.
“Six years of review and five positive environmental assessments from the State Department are enough,” Gerard said. “We are calling on President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. There is more than enough evidence to move forward immediately — without waiting for Congress to vote again in the New Year when congressional support for Keystone XL will be even stronger. President Obama can end the delay today and give America’s construction workers a Christmas gift they’ve been waiting six years for.”
Gerard said the president’s approach to Keystone XL has been to “delay a decision until after the next election, then the next. With no more elections left, it’s time for the president to look beyond the next election cycle to the next generation and do what’s right for America’s future.”
He said America’s energy future will depend on the ability to build enough infrastructure to accommodate expanding production.
“When America’s construction sector goes to work building Keystone XL, they’ll be building not just a pipeline, but energy security,” Gerard said. “We’re within 10 years of the ability to supply 100% of our liquid fuel needs from right here in North America, but we won’t get there through presidential dithering on infrastructure projects that are obviously in our national interest.”
In anticipation of the passage of a bill to approve the Keystone next year, the so-called “Pipeline Fighters” group organized by BOLD Nebraska has undertaken a campaign of its own.
The group announced Friday it was sending “NO KXL” pens to the president to sign the pipeline’s permit rejection letter “or to use in the event a bill fast-tracking the pipeline passes Congress and he is forced to exercise his veto power,” BOLD Nebraska said in a news release.
So far, the group said it is sending more than 700 pens to the White House, along with a postcard that depicts a landowner on the proposed Keystone XL route on one side and a message to President Obama on the other.
“Given the announcement by the American Petroleum Institute this morning to launch a new round of advertising targeted at President Obama to approve the risky pipeline, Bold Nebraska continues to believe our small, grassroots actions like sending pens to the president will ‘out-heart’ any ad campaign API plans now or in the future,” the group said.