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Keystone costs rise as Hoeven pushes through project

Zachary Toliver | Shale Plays Media

On Tuesday, North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven along with three other senators presented an act which they claim would fast-track energy-related infrastructure projects such as the Keystone XL pipeline.

According to the Dickinson Press, the North American Energy Infrastructure Act would eliminate the required presidential permit for projects that cross national boundaries.

The piece of legislation sponsored by Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has four crucial points aside from eliminating the Presidential Permit requirement.

From the press release:

  • Imposes a 120-day time limit on the U.S. State Department to either issue a certificate of crossing or deny a project approval following completion of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process.
  • Focuses the NEPA process to the federal section of the pipeline – the portion that crosses the border and recognizes that the states are the ones to regulate the siting of pipelines within their boundaries.
  • Expedites natural gas pipeline permits to Canada or Mexico by requiring the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to approve the permit within 30 days of receipt and
  • Streamlines the electrical transmission permits by consolidating two separate DOE reviews into one determination.

With our closest friend and ally Canada, we can produce more energy than we use, but we can’t get to the point of energy independence without the infrastructure necessary to achieve it,” Senator John Hoeven said. “ISIS is reported to be making more than a million dollars a day selling oil from the land it occupies in the Middle East. Energy infrastructure projects are too important to our economy and our national security to be dragged out, virtually for years in the case of the Keystone XL pipeline. We need a process that is fact-based and transparent, a process that looks out for the interests of the American people now and into the future. Our bill achieves that goal.”

Time is Money

While the Keystone remains in gridlock for what is now going on six years, costs have risen for the proposed pipeline. Because of consistent delays, material costs are expected to rise even more once the pipeline receives total approval.

Reuters correspondent Nia Williams reported Monday that the cost of the South Dakota portion of TransCanada Corp’s Keystone XL pipeline has more than doubled to $1.974 billion in the last four years the project has awaited federal approval. The latest total cost of the project is estimated at $5.4 billion.

In addition, even with federal approval, TransCanada must also wait for Nebraska’s Supreme Court to reach a final decision on whether the state’s governor acted properly when he approved a route for the Keystone XL pipeline. The decision is not expected until early 2015.

Read the Dickinson coverage of Sen. Hoeven’s co-sponsored bill here: “Act would eliminate presidential permit requirement for KXL-type projects

Also, check out the new price tag of the pipeline from Nia Willams of Reuters: “Keystone XL pipeline’s cost in South Dakota more than doubles

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