Sen. Murkowski Calls for Quick Floor Action on Committee Approved Keystone XL Bill

June 18, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today urged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, R-Nev., to quickly bring to the floor legislation passed by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approving the Keystone XL pipeline project.

Sen. Murkowski's opening remarks at the 6/18/14 ENR business meeting.(Click for video of Sen. Murkowski’s opening statement)

“I am pleased to move the issue of the Keystone XL pipeline forward, but I think we need to be cautious not to oversell it,” Murkowski told members of the energy committee present at Wednesday’s markup. “A vote to approve a project that I believe is in the national interest – and that has been pending since 2008 – should be an easy lift, but the real challenge is getting an actual vote on the Senate floor.”

The committee adopted by a bipartisan 12-10 vote legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. The text of the bill from Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D., Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Murkowski is virtually identical to S. 2280, which was introduced by Hoeven in May, is cosponsored by 55 additional members of the Senate, and is already pending on the Senate calendar. The next step in the process is for a bill on Keystone XL to be brought up on the floor for consideration by the full Senate.

Sen. Murkowski talks about Keystone at the 6/18/14 ENR business meeting.(Click for video of Murkowski discussing Keystone XL)

“Our goal is to enact legislation that allows the pipeline to be built. Let’s hope that Sen. Reid will have a change of heart and take the bill up promptly so that it may be fully considered, adopted and sent to the House for passage,” Murkowski said. “The House passed legislation approving Keystone more than a year ago, but it has been ignored in the Senate.”

TransCanada has sought U.S. State Department approval to build the Keystone XL pipeline project, which would send Alberta crude oil to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast, since 2008, but the Obama administration has repeatedly delayed making a decision on the project. On Tuesday, the Canadian government gave conditional approval to the Northern Gateway pipeline, which would carry Alberta crude oil to the Pacific Coast, where it could be shipped to Asian markets instead of to U.S. refiners.

“The jobs, economic activity, and energy security that the Keystone XL pipeline will provide are clearly in the public interest. It’s time to move forward,” Murkowski said. “Republicans are united on Keystone XL. We will work to advance this for the good of the country, but the Democratic majority leader is the only person who can bring it up for a vote before the full Senate. The ball is now in his court.”

Murkowski is the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.