Political Notebook

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Lugar, Coats still pushing for pipeline

Forty-three Republican senators, including Richard Lugar and Dan Coats of Indiana, announced Monday they will try to invoke the U.S. Constitution in an effort to get the Keystone XL oil pipeline built.

The senators, plus Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia, plan to introduce legislation invoking the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which allows Congress to regulate commerce with foreign nations - in this case, Canada.

Lugar had sponsored a provision in the payroll tax-cut extension that forced Obama to decide whether to permit construction of the pipeline, which would run 1,700 miles from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, to oil refineries in Port Arthur, Texas. Obama rejected the project as planned last week, citing the need for more environmental, health and safety reviews.

“President Obama's opposition is not in the best interest of the United States,” Lugar said in a statement Monday. “The president has failed to lead but we will not stop trying to complete this critical supply line.”

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