Mar 18, 2013 - Senators Urge Obama to Approve KXL, Slap Tribes in Face -Matt Remle
On March 14th, U.S. Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Max Baucus (D-Mont) introduced legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. The bi-partisan backed bill, S. 582, if passed would approve the 1,700-mile project under Congress’s authority enumerated in the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8.
15 Senators signed on as co-sponsors, including six who are committee members on the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs; Sen. Hoeven (R. ND), Sen. Barrasso (R. WY), Sen. Tester (D. MT), Sen. Begich (D. AK), Sen. Murkowski (R. AK), and Sen. Heitkamp (D. ND).
It is unsettling that, despite near uniform opposition to the XL pipeline from tribes along the purposed route, these Senators would throw their support behind S. 582. Perhaps even more unsettling is the co-sponsorship of Tester, Murkowski, and Heitkamp whom recently won in the 2012 elections due in large part to the American Indian vote.
Press releases from Sen. Hoeven and Sen.Tester are cloaked in the usual rhetoric of job creation and energy independence. Missing, of course, are the actual numbers jobs both permanent and temporary that would be created by the approval of the XL pipeline. According the TransCanada’s own original application for the pipeline permit the construction of the XL pipeline would only generate roughly 3.500-4,500 temporary jobs and create only 20 permanent jobs, numbers both confirmed by the State Department.
The introduction the legislation came on the same day that President Obama told House Republicans, in a closed door meeting, that the job numbers and other benefits of the XL pipeline were probably exaggerated, according lawmakers who attended the meeting. According to Rep. Lee Terry (R. Neb) the President stated that he believed many of the promised jobs would only be temporary and that the majority of the oil would most likely be exported.
Regardless of actual real job numbers and how much of the Tarsands oil would be exported, or not, the threats against Native lands and waterways are real. The construction of the XL pipeline would have direct impacts on sacred sites and waterways. Let us stand with our First Nations relatives to the North, who know firsthand the impacts of the Tarsands and the dangers posed by pipelines carrying its oil, and oppose the XL pipeline for the health of our lands, waters and next generations.