US Senator Mike Rounds Weekly Column: Time to Pass Keystone XL Legislation

Time to Pass Keystone XL Legislation
By Senator Mike Rounds
Jan. 16, 2015

MikeRounds official SenateOne of the first items the 114th Congress is taking up is a bill that would authorize construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. A long-time supporter of the project, it was the first bill I signed onto when I took office. The pipeline would bring new sources of energy, create tens of thousands of jobs in the U.S. and free up rail space for South Dakota crops to be sold.

Unfortunately, this project has been politicized by this Administration. By refusing to approve the project – despite having studied it for seven years and undeniable evidence showing that it should be built – the President gives Congress little choice but to take matters into our own hands. With a new Republican majority in both chambers of Congress, we now have an opportunity to put a Keystone bill on the President’s desk. The House of Representatives wasted no time passing Keystone XL pipeline legislation, just as they have in past sessions of Congress. Shortly afterward, the Senate voted 63-32 to bring the legislation to the floor for an open amendment process. I expect the Senate to pass it soon and get it to the President’s desk within weeks.

Unfortunately, the President has already threatened to veto the bill, despite widespread bipartisan support in Congress and the overwhelming support of the American public. A recent CNN poll shows a majority of Americans— 57 percent —support the Keystone XL pipeline. But the President is more concerned with using the pipeline as a political football.

The proposed pipeline will run more than 1,000 miles and carry 830,000 barrels of crude oil to refineries on the gulf coast. It will enter the United States in Montana, then run through South Dakota to connect with an existing pipeline in Nebraska. Separate from Keystone, which has been politicized, thousands of miles of pipeline have already been built and are in use in South Dakota.  Over the past seven years, the federal government has run a number of environmental impact studies along the route, coming to the conclusion that construction of the pipeline would not cause any significant environmental risks. Yet the Administration continues to delay its approval, showing us that American jobs and energy independence are not their top priorities. Earlier this month, a lawsuit holding up approval of the route through Nebraska was overturned by the Nebraska Supreme Court, removing another excuse the President has used to delay the project.

Since the pipeline will pass through our state, this would bring job opportunities for South Dakotans. It would also play a significant role in an “all of the above” approach to our nation’s growing energy needs and free up rail space for South Dakota grains. I’m pleased my colleagues have agreed to take matters into our own hands on this important issue. I look forward to debating amendments on the Keystone bill in the Senate. Doing so brings us one step closer to finally building the pipeline, bringing along an economic boost to our country.

14 Replies to “US Senator Mike Rounds Weekly Column: Time to Pass Keystone XL Legislation”

  1. Jaa Dee

    “The pipeline would bring new sources of energy,”–Where is the oil going when it leaves the gulf?
    ‘create tens of thousands of jobs in the U.S”–35 full time jobs after completion..
    “. A recent CNN poll shows a majority of Americans— 57 percent —support the Keystone XL”–If Rounds thinks policy should be made by approval polls then he and all congress people should be fired.
    “American jobs and energy independence are not their top priorities”—They will be jobs of less than a year and how is oil going to China making the U.S. “energy independent”? Evidently Rounds and others are not aware that the U.S. is now the top producer of oil and gas.

    Always the same claims and talking points, NEVER any specifics or substantiation of the claims made…Why?

  2. Anon.

    Jaa,

    We want to lift the oil export ban too. Oil prices are getting way too low. We need to see at least 90 to 100 a barrel, or banks are going to stary hurting. If we stay much longer at these unfortunately low prices, Canada will not build the pipeline and Continental Oil Co. will take a hit in North Dakota. By sending oil abroad, we will normalize our prices at the pump and gain some global influence and national security.

  3. daj

    The most troubling part of any pipeline is the taking of property rights. The landowner is forced to accept the intrusion onto his/her property and forced to follow restrictions on the use of the land. I am for any pipeline that does not cross my property.

  4. Troy Jones

    Daj,

    I suppose you are troubled too by the roads we have across our nation and railroads, and telephone/internet/cable lines, and electrical lines, and the pipelines that bring gas to South Dakota, and hydroelectric/flood control dams.

    1. Jaa Dee

      So, now conservatives are for a foreign company using eminent domain to take Americans land to ship il to China?

    2. Anonymous

      I’m all for re-routing the proposed pipeline and have a marvelous suggestion as to where you can put it.

  5. Troy Jones

    Jaa Dee,

    If Keystone was a US company, all of your objections would cease and you’d become a supporter?

    1. Jaa Dee

      No sir, of course not, why should that make a difference? I have no problem answering any question, on this issue though my questions go unanswered,
      I think that shows that some arguments for the pipeline are not based on facts but on politics as are some of the environmental arguments against the pipeline,
      After the completion of the remaining 60% of the pipe line what will be the benefits to this country other than 35 jobs? Are those benefits grand enough for conservatives to actually support a foreign company (so fat attempted) using eminent domain to take Americans land for the profit of that company? If you support that sir, please tell me what in the world is of such great importance to the U.S. to justify something so un-American.

  6. Troy Jones

    i’m just trying to follow this line of thinking:

    “The most troubling part of any pipeline is the taking of property rights.” When asked if you were troubled by our roads, electrical lines, railroads, dams, etc, the response was:

    “So, now conservatives are for a foreign company using eminent domain to take Americans land to ship il to China?” which implies the essence of the essence of what troubles you is the foreign ownership.

    So, I just asked if Keystone was owned by a US company, would your opposition go away. If it is “of course not,” why did you raise the arguments as you did?

    1. Fleming

      Troy, If I were an American Indian, I would have no problem whatsoever answering your question. And in fact, I would have no problem answering even though I’m not, by answering as an American Citizen. Portions of the land the US Government is presuming to “give” to a Canadian company is in fact under ownership dispute with another sovereign nation, and to trade it while the dispute is unsettled would be in bad faith.

      Suppose I claimed to hold title to a house, and you still had an interest in it. Let’s say claimed ownership of half of my well or something… there are lots of land deals like that. It would be bad form, and in most cases illegal, for you to sell that land without my permission.

      The Tribes, as far as I know, don’t have any eminent domain agreements with the nation of Canada. Nor is Canada or any Canadian corporation involved in the Treaty of Laramie dispute as far as I know.

      Wouldn’t the arbitration on a land dispute of that nature be “first in time, first in line?” i.e. Give the land in question back to the tribes, and then see what they wanted to do with it.

    2. Jaa Dee

      Well sir, good luck but you did not ask me that question.

      “which implies the essence of the essence of what troubles you is the foreign ownership” Nope I did not say that, my point and one I thought I shared with real conservatives was a disdain for eminent domain used to take land for commercial expansion not necessities such as you described and that is just one point I have made.in other questions that have not been answered. Can you answer those questions without deflecting, sir?
      I do appreciate that you are proving the point I made in the above comment.