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Senators Scold Obama on Keystone Pipeline

A bipartisan group of senators said Thursday that President Barack Obama and the State Department should not again delay a decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Reports earlier this week noted that construction might not be authorized until an inspector general’s report is completed in 2014.

Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D., John Thune, R-S.D., Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., said in a joint statement that further delay would be unjustified and would prevent jobs from being created in their states.

“This marks the fourth delay of the Keystone XL project since 2011, when the State Department issued its final EIS finding no significant environmental impact and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton informed me that the agency expected to make a decision by December of that year,” Hoeven said in a statement. “This tactic of delay and deferral must stop. It is depriving America of jobs, hurting the American economy and hurting the American people.”

Landrieu, who is up for re-election in 2014 in a red state, also had strong words for the president.

“Time is up for President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline,” Landrieu said. “This project will ensure we are able to replace oil imports from Venezuela and the Middle East with imports from our longtime ally Canada. It will create 43,000 much-needed jobs, and it will support fabrication and construction industries along the Gulf Coast and throughout the Midwest. Continuing to delay the pipeline will only drive Canadian production to be exported to China and Korea. We cannot miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to grow our economy, secure our energy independence and reduce our oil imports from countries that do not share our values.”

The State Department previously had been expected to issue a decision on the pipeline this fall.