Republicans urge Trump to act on Keystone

The MonDak’s Republican legislators have joined forces with several other Republican legislators for a full-court press urging President Donald Trump to take whatever immediate actions he can to get construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline moving again.

The pipeline’s construction ground to a halt in November, after a Montana District Court ruling that found certain portions of the Trump administration’s analysis were wanting and that certain aspects of the Environmental Impact Study were outdated.

Judge Brian Morris, out of Great Falls, said the Trump administration could not simply ignore the Obama administration’s rationale in changing policies. It had to provide a reasoned, factually based explanation of its policy shift.

As far as additional environmental analysis, Morris said that the study’s oil spill modeling must take into account new information about the type of oil Keystone will be carrying, as well as study any new acres along the route. The viability of Keystone with current oil prices must also be considered, as well as the cumulative effects of greenhouse gas emissions from both the Alberta Clipper expansion and Keystone together.

Montana Sen. Steve Daines and Rep. Great Gianforte and North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven and Rep. Kevin Cramer all signed the letter, which contends that enough study has already been done on Keystone.

“While we sincerely appreciate your strong leadership on this issue, we write now to encourage that leadership and attention to continue, so that this important infrastructure project can become a reality,” the legislators wrote.

The recent court decision leaves nearly 700 jobs in the balance as far as pre-construction activities go, the legislators added, and 6,600 high-paying jobs once construction begins. The pipeline itself represents $4 billion in new capital investment the first year of construction.

“While we believe that it is important to conduct appropriate environmental reviews, we also believe that further review will not contribute to the existing body of science that already supports pipeline construction and instead will have a significant impact on our rural communities,” the legislators wrote. “We respectfully urge you to take every practicable step to get this project over the finish line and workers back on the construction sites. We thank you for your attention to this matter and your passion for rural America.”

Hoeven said the Keystone XL pipeline is an important piece of national energy security.

“In addition to creating thousands of jobs and generating billions of dollars in capital investment, the project will also reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern oil while helping to transport oil more quickly and safely. That’s why I urge the President to take any appropriate action to ensure construction on this important project resumes as soon as possible,” Hoeven said.

Transcanada, the company constructing the pipeline, revived the project soon after President Donald Trump took office and invited the company to resubmit its application.

The pipelines capacity is up to 830,000 barrels per day, which would be taken to refineries in the gulf Coast, although the line is more likely to start with 500,000 per day.

About 100,000 of that could be Bakken crude oil, which would enter the line at an on-ramp in Baker, Montana.

Daines has estimated the pipeline will generate $80 million in property taxes in Montana, $16 million of which would be distributed to Montana schools and universities.