Press Release of Senator Walsh
Walsh introduces new bill to authorize Keystone XL Pipeline and reform infrastructure approval
Removing RED TAPE Act cuts through politics to approve critical projects
Thursday, May 8, 2014
(US SENATE)—Senator John Walsh today introduced legislation to authorize the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline and reform approval of future infrastructure projects to prevent the President from unilaterally stopping projects from moving forward.
The Removing Repeated Executive Delays to Transboundary Approvals of Pipelines and Engineering Act – Removing RED TAPE Act – identifies critical infrastructure projects that have become politicized, removes authority for making decisions on those projects from the President, and delegates that responsibility by Congress under its Constitutional authority to regulate commerce with foreign nations.
“Washington is so broken that politics prevented the President from making a timely decision on Keystone, and we can’t afford to wait any longer on a project that will bring jobs to Montana,” said Walsh. “This bill will expand oversight and jumpstart decisions that can be stalled for years in the Executive Branch. It’s time to show leadership, take responsibility to reform how we approve projects that are right for our country, and do the work Americans expect us to do."
The Removing RED TAPE Act removes the President’s authority to approve or deny permits for border-crossing infrastructure projects and makes permanent the current system with the State Department as the lead agency for making those decisions. This reform lowers the risk of politics directly interfering in infrastructure decisions. It also subjects federal agency decisions on infrastructure at the international border to the same congressional oversight applied to other major federal decisions.
The State Department has completed all of the impact studies required before approving the Keystone XL Pipeline. However, last month, the President decided again to delay a decision on authorizing the project.
Walsh supports the Keystone XL Pipeline because the project will create jobs, reduce reliance on hostile countries like Russian and Venezuela, and safely transport oil, including Montana oil from the Bakken Formation. Walsh has called for the best possible materials to be used in the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline while preserving protections for landowners and implementing effective emergency response plans. He believes construction of the pipeline is necessary to reduce the reliance of delivering oil by rail, which is increasingly dangerous.
Walsh understands the challenges climate change presents, including an increase in temperature extremes in Montana that are already impacting livestock operations, leading to devastating floods, reducing habitat for species like trout, and causing longer and more intense wildfire seasons. Walsh believes tackling climate change requires long-term solutions – rather than the politicized blocking of a single infrastructure project.
The State Department has concluded that the Keystone XL Pipeline will not impact the rate of extraction of petroleum or continued demand for petroleum in the U.S.