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Hoeven says Keystone XL pipeline in America's best interest

By Bryan Horwath

WASHINGTON -- Could the current unrest in Syria boost the chances of approval for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline?

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North Dakota's senior U.S. senator believes so.

"I believe it does," said Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D. during a phone interview Thursday after he spoke about a resolution concerning the pipeline project on the Senate floor. "Right now, we're determining how to respond in the Middle East, specifically Syria, and it shows, with the volatile situation there, how important it is that we can produce our own energy in North America and not have to get it from the Middle East."

Thursday morning in Washington, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Hoeven introduced a resolution declaring that the Keystone XL project is in the national interest. The resolution, which was also supported on the Senate floor by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., called for President Barack Obama to approve the pipeline, which would carry Canadian tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast in south Texas, possibly carrying some Bakken crude as well.

"This measure is structured as a joint resolution, putting both the House and the Senate on record that the Keystone XL pipeline project is in the national interest," Hoeven stated. "If Congress can find it in the national interest using the abundance of favorable information that has accumulated over five years on the project, then surely the president can, too."

Reiterating his stance that the pipeline is in America's best interest on a number of fronts, Hoeven said "Energy independence is tied to national security and being independent makes us safer." In addition, Hoeven added that the resolution was essentially another tool to put pressure on Obama to give the pipeline the green light.

"We've been waiting for five years for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline," said Heitkamp during her brief remarks Thursday on the Senate floor. "We fought and defeated the Nazis in World War II in less time."

The measure introduced Thursday was an amendment to the energy conservation bill authored by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, that is under consideration in the Senate.

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