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Keystone XL Pipeline bill passes U.S. House of Representatives with WV delegation support

State Journal

West Virginia’s Congressional delegation supports passing the Keystone XL Pipeline bill, and the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill with a fairly overwhelming margin Jan. 9.

U.S. Reps. David B. McKinley, Evan Jenkins and Alex Mooney, all R-W.Va., voted to move the Keystone XL Pipeline bill forward.

The legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 266-153. Environmental groups have expressed concern in the creation of the pipeline, supporting opposition, calling it “destructive” and expressing the potential threat to the environment.

“The Obama Administration has used every excuse in the book to delay this project and they are running out of justifications,” McKinley said in a statement. “Their opposition is rooted in politics, not common sense.”

Jenkins said the bill is important step to creating jobs and having an all-of-the-above energy strategy.

“West Virginians know that energy creates jobs, and domestic energy production makes our nation more secure. The Keystone pipeline is a critical component of a national all-of-the-above energy strategy that maximizes using resources like coal, natural gas and oil from domestic sources and friendly nations. I am disappointed that the president has already issued a veto threat and appears determined to work against Congress, not with Congress. We need to work together on solutions to grow our economy, create and protect jobs, and increase energy production, and the Keystone pipeline is an important step forward,” Jenkins said.

Mooney said he hopes President Obama will reconsider his stance on the measure.

“Natural gas is not only a critical component of West Virginia’s future but of the future economic security of the United States,” Mooney said. “I fully support building the Keystone XL pipeline and I am proud to join my colleagues in voting to authorize its construction; despite the political posturing of the President.”

McKinley said transporting oil by pipeline is safer and more efficient than any other option and will create tens of thousands of American jobs in steel, construction and refining.

“The project is supported by a vast majority of Americans and has bipartisan support from labor unions and businesses,” McKinley said. “This should not be a difficult decision, yet the President is letting ideology get in the way,” said McKinley.

The House has now voted ten times since 2011 to expedite the Keystone Pipeline, but the proposals have been blocked in the Senate and threatened with vetoes from President Obama.

One of the reasons given for the latest veto threat was on ongoing court case in Nebraska regarding Keystone’s route. Earlier today the Nebraska Supreme Court removed this roadblock by issuing a ruling upholding the route.

“The House took action today to move ahead with Keystone and showed once again the bipartisan support behind this project,” said McKinley. “With new conservative leadership in the Senate, I look forward to this bill being taken up and passed in the Senate. The American public deserves to see who is standing in the way of progress.”

Both U.S. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., have said they would support passing the bill in the Senate.

President Obama, however, issued a threat to veto the bill several days before its passage in the House.