Congress Poised to Assert its Power to Open the Keystone XL Pipeline: Casey Stands in the Way

Republican members of the United States Senate have dusted off their copies of the U.S. Constitution and have discovered it is the Congress and not President Obama that has the power to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline from Canada.  On Monday forty-four U.S. Senators signed onto a bill, sponsored by Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), authorizing TransCanada to begin work on the pipeline that would stretch from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast and bring 830,000 barrels of oil a day into America – notwithstanding President Obama’s rejection of the pipeline project.  Senator Casey not surprisingly has refused to sign on as a co-sponsor and thus is helping to prevent passage of this bill.

This bill is of significant importance to restoring the Constitutional Republic because through it Congress reasserts the authority it has over foreign commerce that long ago it yielded to the Executive Branch.  Article I Section 8 Clause 3 of the Constitution of the United States grants Congress – and not the President – the power “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations…”  Congressional power over foreign commerce is exclusive and absolute.  For too long, the Executive Branch has been operating under a self-assumed power to regulate foreign commerce and Congress has sat back and allowed presidents to trample over the Constitution.   At last we have a Congress that is beginning to assert its Constitutional powers against an overreaching chief executive.

TransCanada has already spent about $2 billion in compliance costs and the project has been tested, analyzed, examined and reexamined for over three years by various U.S. executive branch agencies and has jumped through all the regulatory hoops and hurdles set up by the U.S.  Department of State.  Nevertheless, President Obama declared last week that his Department of State declined the permit on grounds that it needed more time to review the project – apparently three years to conduct a review is not enough time for President Obama to make a decision.  The truth is the President does not want to risk alienating his political base by approving the Keystone XL Pipeline project and wishes to punt on the issue until after the election.

In the meantime, TransCanada is threatening to pull its pipeline project with the U.S. and instead build the pipeline west to sell the gas to China.  Yet, America needs oil to fuel its economy and needs American and Canadian oil to reduce its dependence on oil from the volatile Middle East.  And, TransCanada is willing to spend $7 billion to build the Keystone XL Pipeline in America and put 20,000 Americans to work in the construction process.  And, the Keystone XL will add 830,000 barrels of oil a day to our oil refinery business in Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana, which will give us a much needed economic shot in the arm, reduce the price of gas we pay at the pump and make America less dependent upon oil from the Middle East.

Thankfully the Republicans in the U.S. Senate have tired of President Obama’s dithering over this application and are taking the steps to reassert their power to open the Keystone XL Pipeline themselves.  But, the Senate needs the requisite number of votes to pass this much needed bill.  Yet Senator Casey refuses to cosponsor this bill.  Perhaps this is another example of Senator Casey putting his allegiance to President Obama before the best interests of the American people and the Constitution.  As you may know, Senator Casey votes 98% of the time according to the way President Obama instructs him to vote.  Senator Casey’s refusal to support this bill is allowing President Obama to circumvent the Constitution, stop job creation and prevent America from becoming energy independent.  Let’s replace Senator Casey with a Constitutional Republican who will restore freedom to America.  Let’s close down the Obama/Casey agenda and open up the Keystone XL Pipeline.  Let the oil flow.

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