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Hoeven: President gives wrong information on Keystone XL pipeline

Continuing his lobbying efforts for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., reacted strongly Tuesday to President Barack Obama's comments on the project during a recent interview.

In a story that was published Saturday in the New York Times, Obama questioned the number of jobs that would be created from the project while also questioning whether oil transported by the Canada-to-Texas pipeline would stay in the U.S. or be sold overseas.

"(Obama) has held the project up for five years and now the statements that he's making on (Keystone XL) are just wrong," Hoeven said Tuesday. "I'm working on a number of different legislative measures to compel him to approve it or get Congress to approve it directly."

Along with Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat, Hoeven said he is set to introduce a joint resolution aimed at keeping the Keystone XL pressure on the president on the Senate floor on Wednesday.

"This will be a bipartisan resolution stating that Keystone (XL) is in the national interest and the president needs to approve it," Hoeven said. "It's just another measure designed to put pressure on the administration to approve the project."

In the New York Times piece, Obama was quoted as saying the Keystone XL project would create "maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline" and sustain "somewhere between 50 and 100 jobs in a economy of 150 million working people." Obama also stated that, because oil flowing from Keystone XL "is going to be piped down to the Gulf to be sold on the world oil markets," the project "might cause some gas prices in the Midwest to go up."

Originally proposed in 2008, the TransCanada project to move tar sands oil -- and some Bakken crude -- has been a lightning rod of controversy and dissention between environmental-minded liberals and pro industry conservatives with Hoeven and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., often leading the Keystone XL charge.

"He's just flat wrong on the numbers," Hoeven said. "He's talking about 2,000 construction jobs, but his own State Department says it will create 42,000 construction jobs. (Obama) talks about the oil not being used in the United States and gas prices being higher when his own Department of Energy did a report stating the oil will be used in the U.S. and will lower gas prices. The president is contradicting his own agencies."

Obama also asserted his view that Canada, the source of the controversial tar sands oil, "could potentially be doing more to mitigate carbon release." Continuing his stance that he believes the project will eventually gain final approval, Hoeven speculated that Obama could be prodding Canada to take additional steps to address environmental concerns that some continue to have about the pipeline before ultimately giving the project the green light.

"It's frustrating," Hoeven said. "Now the president is not just delaying the project, but he's putting out information that's wrong and we're trying to correct the record."

Bryan Horwath
A Wisconsin native, Horwath has been covering news in the Oil Patch of North Dakota since 2012. Horwath currently serves as the senior agriculture and political reporter for The Dickinson Press and, despite the team's tendency to always let him down, remains a diehard Minnesota Vikings fan.
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