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Senators demand Obama approve delayed Keystone XL pipeline

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Miles of pipe ready to become part of the Keystone Pipeline are stacked in a field near Ripley, Okla. (AP/Sue Ogrocki)

A bipartisan group of four senators is pressuring President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, including Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu, who faces a potentially tough re-election battle in 2014.

In a joint statement released Thursday, Landrieu, Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Republican Sens. John Hoeven, of North Dakota, and John Thune, of South Dakota, said it was time for the Obama administration to approve construction of the pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada to the refineries along the Gulf Coast. The White House has put off a decision on the pipeline, saying it's evaluating environmental concerns.

"Time is up for President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline," Landrieu said in a statement. "We cannot miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to grow our economy, secure our energy independence and reduce our oil imports from countries that do not share our values."

"We cannot sit by while excuse after excuse delays jobs in Montana and across the country," added Baucus, who is retiring next year. "We've had years of studies and the president's own State Department has repeatedly concluded the environment won't be harmed. It's past time to put Americans to work building the Keystone pipeline."