U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat from North Dakota and longtime supporter of the Keystone XL Pipeline, has proposed five new amendments to the legislation to approve the construction of the pipeline. She believes the Keystone XL Pipeline is a critical piece of the U.S. energy infrastructure, and that the completion of the project is an important step toward energy independence.
Heitkamp believes her five amendments will help move the debate forward and encourage President Obama to make a final decision to approve construction.
Many pipeline construction opponents are concerned with the safety of the pipeline itself. Heitkamp also proposed an amendment to ensure adequate personnel and resources for the Department of Transportation and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which she hopes will prevent crude oil train derailments and pipeline leaks.
Two of her amendments focus on long-term certainty for wind energy industry workers. She proposes a five-year extension on the Production Tax Credit to promote wind energy and other renewable fuels. In addition to the Keystone XL Pipeline, Heitkamp’s amendments show she is in favor of strengthening the wind energy industry and assuring the continued investment in renewable energy sources. Another amendment deals with promoting research and development for clean coal energy, carbon capture and sequestration technology, and renewable fuels.
Heitkamp also put forward a proposal to open a North Dakota office for the U.S. Department of Interior in the hopes of helping diminish bureaucratic road blocks for Native American tribes working in energy production on public lands. She believes this will improve efficiency for granting permits to drill for oil and gas, and will help the Department of Interior serve areas that are undergoing energy development.