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WASHINGTON –U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho) today joined with Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Max Baucus (D-Mont.) in introducing bipartisan legislation to approve the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline following nearly five years of study and a fourth favorable State Department environmental review indicating “no significant impact to the environment.

The senators’ bill would approve the 1,700-mile, high-tech project under Congress’s authority enumerated in the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8. Hoeven last year secured an opinion from the non-partisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) confirming Congress’s constitutional authority to approve the project.

The Administration has delayed the project for more than four-and-a-half years, but now that Nebraska, the only state along the route with a concern has approved the path through their state, Hoeven and Baucus have been working cooperatively and with their respective party members to press the Administration to get both a timeline and favorable decision. Joining them as cosponsors on the bill are Senators Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) Mary Landrieu (D-La.), David Vitter (R-La.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.).

The legislation authorizes TransCanada to construct and operate the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to the U.S. Gulf Coast, transporting an additional 830,000 barrels of oil per day to U.S. refineries, which includes 100,000 barrels a day from the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana.

“The decision by President Obama to deny the permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline was flat wrong and puts politics before jobs and economic growth,” said Risch. “Now it is time for Congress to take action and end the inexcusable delay of tens of thousands of new jobs and investment in our economy. This legislation will finally clear the way for this project to move forward.”

“The Keystone XL pipeline project is perhaps the most thoroughly studied and long-delayed project of its kind in U.S. history,” Hoeven said. “The State Department’s favorable finding in its most recent report makes clear both the good environmental stewardship of the project and the need to begin construction without further delay. It will create tens of thousands of jobs, boost the American economy and raise hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues to help the federal and state governments address their debt and deficit problems without raising taxes. Further, it will help to put us within striking range of the long-sought goal of true energy security.

“This is about one simple thing: jobs,” Baucus said. “At a time when job creation must be our number one priority, approving the Keystone Pipeline is the perfect opportunity to put Montanans, and folks across the country, to work right now. American workers cannot afford to wait any longer for Keystone jobs, and there is absolutely no excuse for further delay.”