By Juliet Eilperin, Published: July 8
The fact that Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) has fought so hard for the Keystone XL pipeline underscores the changing politics of oil: A global commodity has become a local issue.
“All I care about is working right now to get the most jobs for Montanans, and Keystone is a part of that solution,” Baucus said in an interview. “To me, it’s a no-brainer. . . . People at home, they want this.”
Baucus has emerged as one of Capitol Hill’s fiercest proponents of the project, largely because the pipeline extension will mean that oil extracted from parts of Montana and North Dakota will have an easier route to Gulf Coast refineries.
He not only has lobbied President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton — whose department is reviewing TransCanada’s proposal to construct a 1,700-mile pipeline between Alberta, Canada, and the Gulf Coast of Texas — but also pushed unsuccessfully last month for language in the highway bill that would have greenlighted the project over the administration’s objections.
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