Hoeven Leads Charge Against Obama On Keystone Pipeline, Heitkamp Conspicuously Absent

john hoeven

On this date in 1973 President Richard Nixon, citing America’s energy needs, gave approval to build the Alaska Pipeline. “Nixon claimed the nation’s “dangerous reliance” on foreign oil, controlled mainly by the increasingly powerful, but politically unstable oil-rich nations of the Middle East, posed a threat to America’s economy,” reads this History Channel article on the occasion. “America had once relied on cheap domestic oil, but by the 1970s, dwindling supplies forced the nation to buy more expensive oil on the international market. An Arab oil embargo in 1973 exacerbated the problem. Saying that the conservation of existing domestic supplies was not enough, Nixon declared that America had to find and tap more oil resources closer to home.”

That pipeline was very controversial, with environmental activists predicting ecological disaster should it be built. That didn’t happen, of course, and the pipeline has become not only an engineering marvel but an important part of our national energy economy.

It’s fitting, then, that North Dakota Senator John Hoeven would be leading a coalition of Senators in demanding a meeting with President Obama on the building of the Keystone XL pipeline:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – North Dakota Senator John Hoeven and Montana’s senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus led a bipartisan group of 18 senators today in calling for a meeting with President Obama to urge action on the Keystone XL Pipeline project. …

“The Keystone XL pipeline represents not only thousands of jobs and growth for the nation’s economy, but also a big step toward American energy independence,” Hoeven said. “We can become energy independent in America within five to seven years, but we must commit to moving forward with important projects like the Keystone XL pipeline.”

I think “energy Independence” is a fool’s errand. We’re never going to be energy independence, because it’s always going to make sense in some areas of our energy marketplace to import oil from other countries. That’s not a bad thing. That being said, our energy markets should be generally free to expand as they will, and impeding that growth does our nation harm.

Senator Hoeven is doing good work leading the charge on this issue. But the question is, where is Senator-elect Heidi Heitkamp? She’s not a part of Hoeven’s effort. Rather, she’s appearing with hooker aficionado Eliot Spitzer on the far-left Current television network saying “we don’t know” in response to questions about when the Keystone XL pipeline will be built.

“I think the State Department and the president, now that down in Nebraska they’ve moved it off the Sandhills and they moved it off the Ogallala aquifer, I think you’re going to see approval,” Heitkamp told Spitzer. “Now, how soon that’s going to happen, we don’t know.”

The opportunity for Heitkamp to lead on these issues is now. She’s not seated in the Senate yet, but she has an opening to speak out. So far, she’s not taking it.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • JW -American

    Why would she take a position on anything, she lied so bad to get the job she screwed up any chance of stating a position on anything. She owes Dirty Harry 8 Million and she doesn’t dare position herself against her campaign commercials or all hell breaks loose back home.

    wise man once said, Once you tell to many lies it gets hard to remember what the truth was.

    She’s in a box, and I think she figures out that the NDGOP and the NRSC have the ability to record every thing she says on tv to be used in a commercial in 6 years.

  • Guest

    Maybe because it’s a letter from current U.S. Senators and Heitkamp is not a Senator yet? You also left out the part that the person currently holding Heidi’s seat, Democrat Kent Conrad, did sign the letter.

    I don’t see Kevin Cramer on the list either, where’s your post condeming him?

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      I don’t see how Conrad’s actions are any bearing on Heitkamp’s.

      And Heitkamp is certainly free to voice her support for the letter, and the meeting with Obama.

      So far, silence.

      • Guest

        Conrad’s actions have a bearing because it’s a letter from U.S. Senators and Conrad is the person holding her seat.

        Heitkamp only ran state-wide ads voicing her support for the pipeline. She’s only reaffirmed for her support since the election and you have no evidence to undermine that. http://www.crookstontimes.com/article/20121109/NEWS/121109574/1001/NEWS It appears you’ll only be satisfied if she issues a letter reaffirming her support every day.

        If you’re so concerned about whether she is wavering, be a journalist and call someone to see if she supports rather it than ruining an ominous “Heitkamp conspicuously absent” headline trying to twist the fact she hasn’t once again reaffirmed her support into a suggesstion she doesn’t support it. “Azulu writes letter opposing senseless slaughter of puppies. Rob Port Conspicuously Absent.”

        You also ignored my point about your double standard here; Kevin Cramer hasn’t issued a statment yet either (“So far, silence” in your words and he is “certainly free to voice [his] support for the letter”). So where’s the post condemning him too, huh? If you don’t edit your post to include him, it just proves that attack lies more in blind partisanship than merit.

      • charles

        The Senate has a lot of unwritten codes of conduct and one of them is that it is bad form for a senator-elect to act like a senator before he or she is sworn in. Maybe she would not speak of anyway, but her silence is understandable in this case.

        • Sarge57

          That is ridiculous. She is Senator elect and has the duty to start advocating for North Dakota.She could certainly start keeping her campaign promises by doing what she repeatedly said during the campaign.

  • Righty

    I am frustrated with so many if my friends on the right because of what seems to be sound-bite, lock-step thinking. What is the real reason for the Keystone Pipeline? To send Canadian tar sand oil to Houston, we are told. But Houston refineries are awash in oil. Texas is the biggest oil producer. There’s oil in Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico – and huge quantities of oil in the Gulf, right off the Houston coast. Houston doesn’t need more oil. So why the big push for Keystone? Because, in fact, ther are two pipeline stubs planned for Houston – one to the refineries and one to the Port of Houston. The real reason for the Keystone Pipeline is for Canada to get its oil to a port and send its oil to China for refining. (Otherwise it would have to pipe it over the Rocky Mountains). The Keystone Pipeline will give China cheap Canadian oil to refine and use in competition with the United States. It will create a few permanent American jobs, but a huge number of jobs in China – and at huge risk to our national security. Why would people on the right want to give the gift of cheap Canadian oil to China at the expense of our national security? We seem to have been sold a bill of goods by strong economic interests who stand to make huge profits from this endeavor – which is fine, except that the profits won’t come to the United States.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Whether or not the oil markets justify the Keystone pipeline is not a question for the government. That is a question for those investing in the building of the pipeline.

      The government has no good reason to block it.

    • sbark

      hmmm…..so your saying Canada should voluntarily leaves billions of dollars of resources in the dirt simply to prevent China from getting more oil………
      Thats like saying the USA should leave billions of dollars of oil in the dirt, not develop it in Anwar, Colo oil sands and Gulf of mexico just so no one can use…….
      oh wait…………we are doing that………good thing we are debt free and able to keep giving the Free stuff voters whatever they want.

    • Sarge 57

      Wrong on pretty much every point. If it was just a pipeline for China they would build it all in Canada. The oil will be refined in the USA. Any new jobs would be more than Obama is helping create. If you had one of those several thousand new jobs you wouldnt demean them like this.

  • Harold

    Heidi will put North Dakota first its just that she didn’t on this thing called the Keystone Pipeline, but when something comes along in the future she’ll be front and center for North Dakota just not on the pipeline.hehehehe

    • Roy_Bean

      Heidi Lied – #1

  • Dakotacyr

    I didn’t know there are three senators in ND.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      There are two Seantors, and a Senator-elect.

      That Heitkamp hasn’t yet officially taken office is a lame defense for her inaction, and you know it.

  • camsaure

    What North Dakota needs, maybe even to a greater extent is a couple of new refineries. I am also of course in favor of the pipeline. No matter who buys the oil simple logic indicates more oil = lower cost.

  • Harold

    I would assume the reason Heidi didn’t show and support Keystone pipeline is she’s working very hard to get the UN Gun Treaty passed so the United Nations can come in here to America and confiscate guns from law biding gun owners. That is up for a vote and Obama said if passed he would sign it so say goodbye to your guns. I’m sure the UN people when they come to your door to take your firearms will be polite.

  • Mikey1109

    They may as well save their breath. Obama has his mind made up on this subject, and it’s a big negative. It’s not going to happen with this president.

  • Camburn

    She is Senator Elect…..not sworn in. It would be very poor taste on her part to pretend that she has already taken the oath of office.

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