- The Washington Times - Monday, May 5, 2014

DENVER — The American Petroleum Institute has launched a five-state media blitz aimed at boosting support for the Keystone XL pipeline in advance of a possible Senate vote.

Television, radio and online ads began running last weekend targeting seven Democratic senators in five states: Colorado, Delaware, Minnesota, New Mexico and South Dakota.

“Tell Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet: Approve the Keystone XL Pipeline,” says the Colorado television ad.

The ads tout a Harris Poll showing 78 percent support for the pipeline along with the backing of labor, business and Republican and Democratic political leaders.

President Obama has delayed deciding on whether to allow the pipeline for five years. The State Department tacked on another delay April 18, citing a dispute over the route now before the Nebraska Supreme Court, which could push a decision past the November election.

Environmental groups, a core Democratic Party constituency, strongly oppose the pipeline, but several Senate Democrats facing tough re-election bids in red states are pushing for the president to green-light the project.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, Louisiana Democrat, and Sen. John Hoeven, North Dakota Republican, reintroduced binding legislation last week to green-light construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

“A vote for the bipartisan bill introduced by Senators Hoeven and Landrieu is a vote against Washington gridlock and game-playing,” said API senior operations manager Cindy Schild in a statement. “After five exhaustive studies confirming no significant environmental impacts, the Obama administration’s announcement that it needs more time to make a decision is a joke.”

API spokeswoman Sabrina Fang declined to divulge the amount of the ad buy, but said, “We spend a significant amount on our priority issues.”

The Senate approved 62-37 a non-binding resolution in March 2013 in support of constructing the Keystone XL pipeline, which would run from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The president’s approval is needed because the project crosses an international border.

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