Senate Republicans joined by one Democrat launched a bid this week to overturn President Obama's decision to delay approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline from Canada.
Republicans and Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia are not giving up on the XL Pipeline, pressing a bill to approve the XL permit over the President's objections by using Congressional authority over foreign commerce.
Senator and former USDA Secretary Mike Johanns, R-Neb., argues all of Obama's objections, including Nebraska re-routing around a sensitive aquifer, have been addressed.
"TransCanada agreed that they would work to reroute the pipeline through our state; everyone shook hands," Johanns said. "We are now in agreement; our problem is solved in Nebraska. For months and months the Federal government has been saying to the state of Nebraska you have the power to route this pipeline through your state and that is exactly what we are doing."
Johanns argues no one was contesting any other part of the $7 billion, 1,700 mile pipeline that could deliver as much as 500,000 barrels of oil a day to the U.S.
"What is holding that up? What could be possibly holding that up," Johanns said. "The simple answer to that question is the President of the United States is holding it up, he's in a bind. The environmentalists have declared war on the oil sands in Canada. They don't want the pipeline because they don't want the oil sands. On the other hand the unions want to build the pipeline, they want the jobs."
Johanns argues Washington needs to put national interests ahead of November re-election politics. The Senate bill has 44 co-sponsors.
Senator John Thune, R-S.D., answered the administration's claims the pipeline needs more study after three years-plus of review.
"What's interesting to me about this particular project is the 1,200 days longer than any pipeline of this magnitude, extended review of more than 10,000 pages of environmental analysis concluded that the pipeline will not adversely impact the environment."
Thune cited an Energy Department finding that gas prices in regions served by East Coast and Gulf Coast refineries, including the Midwest, would decrease with the pipeline. Similar legislation is pending in the House.