Sen. John Barrasso is among a group of senators seeking face time with President Barack Obama over a controversial pipeline.
The Wyoming Republican signed his name to a Nov. 16 letter asking the president for a meeting to discuss the Keystone XL pipeline extension, a TransCanada-owned, 36-inch diameter pipeline which would transport Canadian crude through a series of states including Montana and South Dakota and ending in Louisiana.
The letter was written by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and signed by 16 other lawmakers. It asks the president to expedite the project.
“Nothing has changed about the thousands of jobs that Keystone XL will create,” the group wrote. “Nothing has changed about the energy security to be gained through an important addition to the existing pipeline network built with sound environmental stewardship and the best modern technology.”
No part of the line would traverse Wyoming, but Barrasso said in a statement that people in the Cowboy State understand energy needs and can get behind the project.
“In Wyoming, we have first-hand knowledge of how energy projects like the Keystone XL pipeline create good jobs for working families,” he said. “Keystone XL is ready now to create thousands of jobs, while at the same time increasing America’s energy security.”
The road for Keystone XL extension approval has been long. Canadian and U.S. phases of pipeline — often called the Keystone pipeline — are completed and operational, but proposed U.S. additions have yet to be approved.
TransCanada proposed the XL extension in 2008. Late last year, Congress passed a bill mandating a decision on the project from Obama within 60 days. Obama rejected the application in January, saying the deadline didn’t allow for a proper review process.
The president has since said the project is a priority for his administration.
TransCanada’s route through Nebraska has drawn extensive criticism from environmental groups and landowners. Many worried about the initial route proposal, saying that it crossed unconfined aquifers and other sensitive areas. The company redrew the route and submitted a new plan which it says avoids such areas.
The company began construction on the southern part of the line — which runs from Oklahoma to the Gulf of Mexico — earlier this year.
Barrasso said Obama should turn his attention toward the project, especially now that he’s secured re-election.
“The politics surrounding this decision should also be over,” he said. “If the president is serious about improving our economy and helping America become an energy independent nation, he’ll approve the Keystone XL pipeline immediately.”
A final decision on the project is expected sometime early next year.