01/31/12 Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) today joined a bipartisan group of 44 senators in introducing legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline project under Congress’s authority enumerated in the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8.

“It is both irrational and disingenuous for an administration that claims its number one priority is jobs to block a project that would put thousands of Americans back to work,” said Coats. “We need results from Washington, not more excuses. The Keystone XL pipeline has bipartisan support because it will provide jobs for hardworking Americans and reduce our country’s dependence on Middle East oil.”

Earlier this month, the president denied a permit for construction of the $7 billion, privately-funded pipeline. Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.) secured an opinion from the non-partisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) confirming Congress’s constitutional authority to approve the project.

The legislation authorizes TransCanada to construct and operate the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to the U.S. Gulf Coast, transporting an additional 830,000 barrels of oil per day to U.S. refineries, which includes 100,000 barrels a day from the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana. The bill permits the company to move forward with construction of the pipeline in the United States while allowing Nebraska to determine an alternative route within the state.

The Keystone XL pipeline is the largest, ready-to-build infrastructure project ready in the United States. The project is estimated to generate approximately 20,000 new jobs directly and support hundreds of thousands of jobs in the coming years.