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Dec 1, 2011 12:26 AM

Baucus, Tester support Keystone XL, but not GOP bill

WASHINGTON, DC - Montana's two US Senators did not commit to supporting a Republican bill, but they do want to see approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Senate Republicans have proposed legislation to speed up federal action on the controversial Keystone XL oil sands pipeline. The White House has delayed making a decision on the pipeline until after next year's election, but Republicans want to pass a bill that would require a State Department permit for the pipeline within 60 days, forcing President Obama to make a decision.
Republicans say the pipeline project would create jobs and increase the country's energy independence.
"What we do know is that if it were allowed to go forward, if the administration would simply get it out of the way and let it go forward, it would create jobs almost immediately," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said. "Lots of jobs."
Montana's Democrat Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester also like the potential job creation from the Keystone project.
"We need to put Montanans back to work and cannot afford further delays to the Keystone XL pipeline," Baucus said. "I strongly support the jobs and energy security presented by Keystone XL but am still reviewing this bill to make sure it's right for Montana."
"The Keystone pipeline will create Montana jobs and it should not have to wait 14 months for an up-or-down decision," said Democratic Senator Jon Tester. "I look forward to the project moving forward as long as TransCanada protects private property rights and as long as it is committed to the highest safety standards across rural America."
Republicans say there's no reason to delay approval.
"This legislation addresses the concerns that have been raised," said Senator John Hoven, a Republican from North Dakota. "This is about solving the challenges, meeting the concerns and moving forward on a project that is very important to this country."
"From the environmental perspective, this is critical to us," said Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Washington. "From the jobs perspective it's absolutely necessary for us, and from North American energy independence perspective it's important. So to turn our back on Canada, as this delay essentially did, was a wrong step, it was misguided and I think it was politics at its worst when people are counting on jobs and economic activity."
"It really is a no brainer," said Senator John Thune, a Republican from South Dakota. "It's been studied, it's been scrutinized, it's been analyzed, its been reviewed now for three years, and there is absolutely no reason whatsoever why this thing shouldn't be moving forward."

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