Kevin Cramer: Less Than 50-50 Chance Keystone Gets Approved Under President Obama


I had Rep. Kevin Cramer on the radio today, my second-to-last day of guest hosting in the 9-11am time slot on WDAY this week, and I wrote earlier about his decision to seek the NDGOP’s endorsement at the state convention in Minot (he skipped it last cycle) but I also asked him about some energy issues.

“None of this surprises me,” he said when I asked him about emails, uncovered by a FOIA request, illustrating collusion between the EPA and environmental groups.

I asked him about the chances of the Keystone XL pipeline getting approved under President Obama (a hot topic given the headlines about train derailments and rail capacity overwhelmed by oil shipments), and he was as pessimistic as I’ve ever heard him.

“I used to be very optimistic about it,” he told me. “I guess I would put it at less than 50/50 because it’s just that at every turn them seem to try to find a reason to try and delay it longer.”

Cramer said the only possible reason for continued delay at this point is politics. “At this point there’s no more possible studying you could do,” he said. “It’s by far the most studied and analyzed and environmental impact studied pipeline in the history of the world. I don’t know what more you could possibly learn.”

But not all hope is lost.

“Could it be approved? I think to be honest with you this is a clear example of the consequences of elections,” he said before pointing out that a change of leadership in Washington could help things along. In fact, he suggested that opposition to the Keystone pipeline could cost Democrats the US Senate.

“If the United States Senate switches control to the Republican party it’ll be largely over issues like this,” he said. “It’ll be largely due to not the fact that there aren’t enough Democrats in the United States Senate to pass a bill to deem the Keystone pipeline ready to build as the House has already done, but that there aren’t enough Democrats to get the bill to the floor for a vote.”

He said that if the Keystone pipeline could get a vote in the Senate, he thinks it would pass easily.

“I think it’s almost a veto-proof bill,” he said. “If in fact the Senate was to switch parties over things like the Keystone and energy issues, as well as Obamacare issues, I think the president would take pause and ask if I want to spend my last two years fighting and doing nothing or moving our economy forward.”