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The Oklahoman: Oklahomans Vote to Approve Keystone XL Northern Pipeline Construction

May 23, 2013
News Stories

The Oklahoman - Chris Casteel

The Republican-controlled U.S. House voted 241-175 on Wednesday to require the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to Nebraska. The vote was symbolic since the U.S. Senate, controlled by Democrats, is not likely going to consider the House bill. The U.S. State Department is currently analyzing TransCanada’s proposal to build the pipeline, and it’s not known when a decision will be announced.

Four of Oklahoma’s five U.S. House members voted for the bill on Wednesday. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, whose district was devastated by a tornado on Monday, was back in Oklahoma and could not vote but expressed support for the legislation.

Here are comments from the Oklahomans:

Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City: “Jobs, state and local tax revenues and North American energy independence remain stifled while the Administration continues to stall construction of this portion of the pipeline. Keystone XL will be subject to some of the most stringent safety regulations possible. TransCanada was able to mitigate the Nebraska Governor’s concerns about the location of the pipeline, and the State Department’s draft report issued in March suggests there is no reason NOT to build the pipeline. Why does the Administration continue to stall?”

Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne: “The Keystone Pipeline project has the potential to create 20,000 direct jobs and 118,000 indirect jobs by creating a demand for welders, pipefitters, mechanics, electricians, heavy equipment operators etc. Many of these jobs would come to Oklahoma’s Third Congressional District, as approval of the northern portion of the pipeline would carry oil from the Canadian oil sands down to Cushing, Okla. Keystone would transport 830,000 barrels of oil per day, which is nearly half of what our country imports from the Middle East.”

Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Westville: “The Keystone XL pipeline is extremely important to this country and to the 2nd District and I was pleased to be on the House Floor talking about its impact in my district. Since the beginning of my term I have called on the President to permit the northern leg of the project, but he continues to drag his feet. Today’s vote in the House shows how much support there is for this project.”

Rep. Cole: “I am pleased that my colleagues in the House continue fighting for construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Not only is the project a wise investment in the future of American energy production, but it also strengthens our national security by reducing dependence on foreign oil. Through TransCanada’s willingness to invest $7 billion to begin construction, this pipeline project would directly create 20,000 jobs without expending any federal dollars. Through this expansion with our allies in Canada, the pipeline would be a vital step toward creating much-needed jobs, tightening our national security and lowering fuel prices.”

Online: The Oklahoman