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Senator Richard Lugar, R-Ind., is leading a charge to push the construction of an oil pipeline through Congress. The North American Energy Security Act would force the Obama administration to issue a construction permit for the Keystone XL pipeline within 60 days of the bill‘s passage.
Lugar says the pipeline, which would bring Canadian crude oil directly to gulf coast refineries, is a “shovel ready” jobs project that would also reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil from the Middle East and Venezuela.
“Our foreign oil vulnerability endangers national security, and it puts our war fighters and our civilian personnel at risk,” he says. “It also worsens out national budget situation as we spend billions of dollars to insure safe passage of oil around the world.”
The Indiana senator says construction of the pipeline would create 20,000 jobs instantly at a time when job creation is a number one priority in the U.S.
When the State Department announced the administration would delay approval of the pipeline, President Barack Obama released a statement saying more information was needed before the project could move forward.
“Because this permit decision could affect the health and safety of the American people as well as the environment, and because a number of concerns have been raised through a public process, we should take the time to ensure that all questions are properly addressed and all the potential impacts are properly understood,” he said.
Lugar says his bill addresses all of the environmental concerns the Obama administration has listed as pause for action. Lugar and other senators have accused the White House is playing politics by trying to delay action on the measure until after the 2012 presidential election.