Louisiana congressional Republicans lined up last week to fire on President Barack Obama’s decision to reject an application for a permit to build and operate the Keystone XL pipeline.

Republican supporters of the pipeline project to bring Canadian oil to Gulf Coast refineries contend that it would create 20,000 new jobs and provide 700,000 new barrels of oil per day while injecting $7 billion in new investment to the economy.

U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., introduced legislation last year to expedite the permitting process for the project and called Obama’s decision “infuriating.”

“The stubborn environmentalist agenda is being recklessly placed before job creation, economic growth and national security,” Vitter said in a statement.

U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, lauded the project as having a positive impact on energy costs in the nation.

“It would cut in half the amount of oil we import from the Middle East and Venezuela, decreasing the cost of gasoline,” Cassidy said in a statement.

U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, called the project a boost to local economies.

“This job creation would not add one single penny to the deficit while injecting millions of dollars into local economies,” Boustany said in a statement.

U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-Quitman, said shutting the door on Keystone XL is shutting the door on American jobs.

“Once again, the president is caught putting politics over our economy and energy security,” Alexander said in a statement.

In denying the application for the permit, Obama blamed congressional Republicans for imposing an unrealistic time frame to make a decision on the project.

“As the State Department made clear last month, the rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment,” Obama said in a statement.

Landrieu letter to Jindal

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., dispatched a letter last week to Gov. Bobby Jindal after his announcement of education reform.

Landrieu is the co-chairwoman of the Senate Charter School Caucus. The state must provide families with greater freedom to choose the best educational fit for each student, Landrieu wrote.

Landrieu wants the state to increase the number of high-quality public charter schools throughout the state when and where traditional systems fail to perform, she said.

Research shows that quality public charter schools promote healthy competition and improve student outcomes, Landrieu said.

A study last year by the Center for Research and Education Outcomes showed that 50 percent of the open-enrollment public charter schools in Orleans Parish performed significantly better than their traditional public school counterparts in reading, math or both, Landrieu said.

“As we work to expand school choice, we must identify local assets and invest in homegrown talent to lead charter schools in Orleans Parish and across the state,” Landrieu wrote.

Jindal proposed a series of changes on how education is delivered to public school students.

Landrieu also called for closing current disparities in school funding across the state while also investing in childhood education and development programs.

Jindal proposed a series of K-12 reforms that included tenured teachers, vouchers, charter schools and merit pay.

Landrieu commended Jindal for his efforts to focus on “next generation” reforms that she said will enhance teacher quality, expand school choice and provide flexible spending at the local level.

Scalise applauds decision

U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson , applauded the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decision to send a dredging vessel to the lower Mississippi River where a vessel ran aground last week.

The corps also announced a decision to dedicate an additional $55 million to dredging the lower Mississippi.

“For months, our entire delegation has pressed the corps to adequately dredge the lower Mississippi and I hope (the) decision is the start of a continued commitment to adequately dredge the Mississippi and prevent events like (the) ship grounding from happening in the future,” Scalise said in a statement.

Compiled by Gerard Shields, who was chief of The Advocate’s Washington bureau. Contact email address is mballard@theadvocate.com.