Senators Push for Baker to Cushing Segment in Response to TransCanada Announcement to Split Keystone XL Construction

(Washington, D.C.) – Montana's U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester are urging TransCanada to move forward on the Keystone pipeline from Baker, Mont. to Cushing, Okla. as the company announced today it will split up construction of the project. In a letter to TransCanada CEO, Russ Girling today, the Senators encouraged the company to hire Montanans and highlighted the fact that Montana energy producers are ready for the project to move forward.

"Montanans are waiting for jobs as this project faces unnecessary delays. I encourage Transcanada to move forward on the Baker to Cushing segment as soon as possible so that we can put Montanans back to work.  We've done three years of analysis and worked hard on strict environmental considerations – now it's time to move forward on the jobs and energy security our nation deserves," Baucus said.

"Today's announcement is an important step toward creating jobs and strengthening our energy security," Tester said. "Montanans want this project to move forward with respect for private property rights and the highest safety standards, and I encourage TransCanada to look to the Big Sky State as it ramps up responsible construction."

TransCanada announced today it will pursue the Cushing, Okla. to Gulf of Mexico segment of Keystone XL immediately while it refiles for a Presidential Permit for the Canada to Cushing segment that runs through parts of Montana. Baucus and Tester pledged to continue fighting to get approval on the Keystone XL pipeline, which is expected to create thousands of jobs and bring more Montana oil to market.

Baucus secured a bipartisan agreement in December to force a long-delayed permitting decision on the project by Feb 21. The State Department has already completed a three-year review of the project, safety concerns – including some raised by Baucus – have been addressed, and public input has been considered. Tester specifically strengthened protections for private property rights in December’s bipartisan agreement, saying the pipeline should be built “to the highest safety standards.”

Text of letter below and available online HERE:

Dear Mr. Girling:

We applaud TransCanada’s decision today to move forward on initial segments of the Keystone XL pipeline in the southern part of the United States. As you begin this process, we encourage you to carefully consider the opportunity to bring Montana oil online as soon as possible as well. As we have both stated numerous times, Keystone XL is an important addition to the country’s energy infrastructure and energy security. We are particularly pleased that the Keystone XL pipeline will carry American oil from Baker, Montana, south. This pipeline is critical to the country’s economy and to Montana, as it will swiftly deliver responsibly produced domestic oil to market. 

After three years of analysis, we have been dismayed to witness the unnecessary delays that have resulted in $7 billion of private capital kept from investing in our energy security. The president’s decision to delay a decision until 2013 was a missed opportunity that we can ill-afford when we must be promoting an “all of the above” approach to investing in our energy future.

As you move into the construction phase, we urge you to hire Montanans who are skilled and stand ready and waiting to assist you in this effort. We also urge you to assure that in building the pipeline you construct it to the highest safety standards in both rural and urban areas, respect private property owners and source as many materials as possible from the United States.

Energy producers in Montana are ready to go. Construction of the segments from Baker, Montana, to Nebraska and Oklahoma would put more shovels in the ground sooner, without running into more red tape. 

Thank you your consideration.


Max Baucus

Jon Tester

[end letter text]