Now that the election is over, and President Obama has been re-elected, it is finally safe for Montana’s US Senators to actually pressure the president to get this pipeline finally built. Why they hadn’t already held a press conference in front of the White House is beyond me. This project should have started months ago.
Nonetheless, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) is now joining over a dozen other Senators in calling for an actual sit-down meeting with President Obama regarding the Keystone pipeline. The full text of the letter is below.
Meanwhile, Politico’s Morning Energy quotes newly elected Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) saying it’s not a question of if, but when:
Will Obama approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which Heitkamp supports? “I think the State Department and the president, now that down in Nebraska they’ve moved it off the Sandhills and they moved it off the Ogallala aquifer, I think you’re going to see approval. Now, how soon that’s going to happen, we don’t know.”
GREENS RALLY AGAINST KEYSTONE PIPELINE: In the midst of Bill McKibben’s “Do the Math” tour, 350.org is running a protest against the Keystone XL pipeline this Sunday, including a march to circle the White House and a rally featuring McKibben, Sierra Club President Allison Chin and others. McKibben’s 2011 protests and arrests outside the White House helped propel the pipeline into the mainstream and put pressure on President Obama, but he noted when Obama rejected the pipeline while under a congressionally mandated deadline earlier this year that it was only a temporary victory for environmentalists.
Meanwhile, in a related news story, Montana Media Trackers notes that MoveOn.org has now joined the Pacific Northwest coal wars:
MoveOn.org, a left-wing advocacy group that is funded in part by billionaire George Soros, is joining an effort to help prevent Montana coal from being exported to foreign markets by fighting plans to build a coal shipping terminal at Cherry Point, Washington.
MoveOn.org began its efforts by creating a petition to deny the permitting of coal trains to use the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal to export coal to Asian markets.
FULL TEXT OF LETTER FROM SEN. BAUCUS BELOW
November 16, 2012
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20500-0003
Dear Mr. President:
With the elections of 2012 behind us, we write to remind you of the continuing importance of the Keystone XL Pipeline. We want to work together to keep creating jobs, and Keystone XL is one vital piece of the puzzle. We would like to meet with you in the near future to discuss this important project.
Setting politics aside: Nothing has changed about the thousands of jobs that Keystone XL will create. Nothing has changed about the energy security to be gained through an important addition to the existing pipeline network built with sound environmental stewardship and the best modern technology. Nothing has changed about the security to be gained from using more fuel produced at home and by a close and stable ally. And nothing has changed about the need for America to remain a place where businesses can still build things.
We hope that you will follow through on your directive of March 22, 2012, to federal agencies to move forward vital energy infrastructure like Keystone XL. The state of Nebraska is nearing completion of the new pipeline route within Nebraska. With that process near completion, we look forward to an affirmative determination of national interest soon.
We then urge you to issue a Presidential Permit immediately afterward.
Thank you for your consideration, and we look forward to your response.
Max Baucus (D-Mont.)
Jon Tester (D-Mont.)
John Hoeven (R-N.D.)
Richard Lugar (R-Ind.)
Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
Kent Conrad (D-N.D.)
Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas)
Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)
Mark Pryor (D-Ark.)
David Vitter (R-La.)
Jim Webb (D-VA)
John Barrasso (R-Wyo.)
Mike Johanns (R-Neb.)
Kay Hagan (D-N.C.)
Mark Begich (D-Alaska)
Joe Manchin (D-W.V.)
Rob Portman (R-Ohio)