Sen. Ted Cruz to Obama: Keystone Pipeline Approval 'Not a Hard Decision'

By Patrick Burke | January 23, 2013 | 4:28pm EST

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) (AP photo)

( – Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said it's a "no brainer" and "not a hard decision" for the Obama administration to approve  construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

“There are a lot of challenges facing this country and there are hard decisions, and easy decisions. And as Senator Manchin (D-W.Va.) put it, ‘This is a no brainer.’ This is not a hard decision,” Cruz said during a Capitol Hill press conference on Wednesday.

“The president frequently talks about how he wants additional revenue. Approving this pipeline would generate substantial additional revenue to address our deficits and debt,” the freshman Texas Republican said.

On Tuesday, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman (R) approved the pipeline’s construction, after the state government found that a new proposed route through Nebraska would not pose a significant environmental risk.

Environmentalists promptly condemned the project, which will bring oil from Canada’s oil sand fields to American refineries, saying it will contribute to global warming.

But Sen. Cruz said that constructing the pipeline will actually be beneficial to the environment, saying that transporting oil by pipeline is safer than using oil tankers.

Moreover, Cruz said that if the pipeline is not built across the U.S., the oil will be refined in China, which poses a far greater risk to the environment.

“If this pipeline is not built, two things will happen. Number one, we’ll continue to rely more and more on overseas oil which will be in tankers and as long as tankers are coming, we know that spills will result,” Cruz said.

“A pipeline is a far safer way to bring in energy from the environmental perspective of the United States. But number two, if this pipeline is not built, it will be built going west. It will be built and then shipped to China. And if this oil is refined in China it will be done so in a much dirtier manner that will pollute the environment far, far more.”

Cruz was part of a bipartisan group of senators led by Sens. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Max Baucus (D-Mont.), urging President Obama Wednesday to approve the pipeline’s construction.

In September of 2008, the energy company TransCanada first applied for a permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline through the United States.

On May 4, 2012, TransCanada applied to build the pipeline using a new route through Nebraska that avoids the “Sand Hills” region, which was the reason the Obama administration stated for its reluctance to approve the project.

This alternate route prompted the State Department to prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) to assess TransCanada’s new application.

The SEIS is expected to come out by the end of the first quarter of 2013, but senators are calling on President Obama to speed up the process.

According to TransCanada’s own estimates, the pipeline is expected to create more than 9,000 jobs.

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