Landrieu, Vitter urge OK of pipeline

U.S. Sens. Mary Landrieu and David Vitter again showed their support of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline on Wednesday by joining a group of 53 senators in writing to President Barack Obama.

The majority group of the Senate in the letter asked Obama to approve the permit for the pipeline that would run from Canada to Houston and Port Arthur, Texas.

Obama has delayed but not opposed the construction of the pipeline, which is opposed by many environmental groups.

The letter came shortly after Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman approved an adjusted route for the pipeline through his state.

Landrieu, D-La., and Vitter, R-La., are both longtime supporters of the pipeline, although Vitter has been much more critical of Obama in the process.

“Many Americans are still hurting for jobs, and one partial solution is staring us all in the face — the Keystone XL pipeline,” Vitter said Wednesday. “I applaud Gov. Heineman’s support of the Keystone reroute, which clearly eliminates any excuse from the Obama administration.

“We are blessed with a strong trading partner and neighbor in Canada, and the administration should realize that the time for politics is over,” he added.

Landrieu said the federal government must be respectful of states’ rights and that Nebraska has now spoken. The pipeline will help move the nation toward energy independence, she said.

“It’s going to take both increased production and conservation,” Landrieu said.

Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Max Baucus, D-Mont., were the lead authors of the letter. Hoeven mentioned the support of Landrieu and Vitter while adding that Louisiana is a “huge energy state.”

Landrieu said Louisiana has businesses refining oil from within the state, the Gulf Coast and from foreign nations.

“We’d like to get oil from Canada instead of Venezuela or the Middle East,” she said.