March 4, 2014

The Honorable Barack Obama President of the United States The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20500 Dear Mr. President: Last June, you conditioned approval of the Keystone XL pipeline on a finding that the project would be in our nation’s interest, which would be served only if the project “does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.” In a long-anticipated report released January 31, the State Department determined that approval of the pipeline is unlikely to result in a substantial increase in greenhouse gas emissions. Such a finding should now clear the way for final endorsement of the pipeline. We understand that the State Department plans to undertake a 90-day process to gather input from other federal agencies and departments, and from the public toward a “national interest” determination. While this process appears reasonable on its face, we are troubled by comments from senior officials within your Administration. The National Journal, for example, reports that Assistant Secretary of State Kerri-Ann Jones plans to introduce tangential issues that will inform the “national interest” determination, such as the impact of project approval on international climate policy. We seriously doubt that approval or rejection of the project would impact – even marginally – the climate policies of China, India, and Russia. We maintain that approval of the pipeline, a critical energy infrastructure project, is clearly in the “national interest” with quantifiable benefits for not only our constituents, but for the entire American people. The State Department’s report concluded that the pipeline, during construction, would support over 42,000 jobs – a substantial, meaningful number to the vast majority of Americans. We concur with the well-argued points made by many of the nation’s major labor unions, including the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which highlight the job benefits of Keystone XL.

Moreover, the pipeline would improve our energy security by diversifying the nation’s energy infrastructure, which would help ensure access to reliable and affordable fuels for our cars and trucks. Although the United States has made impressive progress in displacing foreign petroleum in recent years, it remains in the national interest to promote, as a percentage of total oil imports, shipments from our friends and allies, such as Canada. We take note of a recent Bloomberg poll, which found that 56 percent of respondents view the Keystone XL pipeline “as a chance to reduce dependence on oil imports from less reliable trading partners.” We agree with that assessment. We ask that you set a prudent, rational deadline for a decision on whether the Keystone project is in the “national interest” – one based on the condition you set in June. We look forward to working with your Administration to ensure that this pipeline, which will undoubtedly promote U.S. economic and energy security interests, is built without any further delay.


Governor Dave Heineman Nebraska

Governor Dennis Daugaard South Dakota

Governor Jack Dalrymple North Dakota

Governor Rick Perry Texas

Governor Mary Fallin Oklahoma

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