On Tuesday, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman approved an adjusted route for the Keystone XL Pipeline that avoids that state’s fragile Sand Hills. Soon after, 53 senators – including both from Louisiana – wrote a letter to President Obama supporting the project.
Republican Senator David Vitter, the new ranking member of the Environmental and Public Works Committee, said in a statement Tuesday that now the Obama Administration has no excuse not to approve the $5.3 billion project that would pipe oil from Canada to the Gulf.
In a press conference Wednesday Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu said the President must now approve the pipeline’s construction.
"So for all the jobs this will create across our whole country, but particularly in places like Texas and Louisiana that do a lot of this refining," said Landrieu. "I urge the President to look again now that Nebraska has acted."
But Southern University Political Science professor Albert Samuels said despite these latest developments, the likelihood of Obama approving the pipeline still unknown.
"But it definitely increases the sense of urgency for the President to actually make a decision one way or another," said Samuels. "I think it also gives an additional argument to those who have been critical of the energy policies and they’ll say now there is no reason not to go ahead with this."
Samuels said the President is also now sure to receive more pressure from environmentalists not to approve the pipeline.