Mary Landrieu wants the Keystone Pipeline approved. President Barack Obama wants Mary Landrieu to win a fourth term this fall. Could Keystone approval be around the corner? You bet. And Landrieu is certain to be given some credit for it.
With Republican Sen. Max Baucus of Montana winning unanimous Senate confirmation as ambassador to China Thursday, Baucus’ powerful Finance Committee chairmanship will likely go to Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden based on seniority.
And that leaves Wyden’s seat as chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in the hands of Louisiana’s three-term senator, Mary Landrieu, who is in a tough re-election battle for a fourth six-year term. Ascension to the post is likely to be approved Tuesday when Senate Democrats convene for their weekly caucus, according to The Times-Picayune.
Though a staunch supporter of energy, Landrieu also has some environmental support, in part for her work to pass the Restore Act in 2012, which aims to send hundreds of millions of dollars from 2010 BP oil spill fines to Louisiana for coastal restoration projects.
Taking over the gavel is a major boost to the Democratic senator, who would be in an even better position to use her influence to get the administration behind the Keystone Pipeline project. A recent five-year investigation by the State Department concludes that the pipeline is unlikely to have significant effects on climate change.
Landrieu issued the following eblast this morning, "Keystone: It's Time to Build"
This week, a group of bipartisan senators, business and labor leaders and veterans joined me in urging the president to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
This single project will support nearly 43,000 jobs and inject billions of dollars into our economy while reducing our dependence on oil from countries that do not share our values. Once again, another study has concluded that the Keystone XL Pipeline will have no significant impact on our environment.
This new study underscores what has been said all along about Keystone XL Pipeline: it’s time to build.
I urge the president to act swiftly and give final approval so we can put people to work in these good-paying jobs right away and our refineries in Louisiana and Texas can refine this energy from our close ally, Canada. It’s time for the president to take action.
Landrieu's new role might also cause some Republicans in the oilfield (and outside of it) who have gotten behind her major challenger, Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, to rethink their strategy.
Former Sen. J. Bennett Johnston, a Democrat Landrieu replaced after winning the 1996 Senate race, was the last Louisiana senator to chair the Energy Committee.
Read more about Landrieu’s upcoming race here.