UPDATE 1-Republicans vow to fight for Keystone pipeline

Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:42pm EST

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By Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON Jan 18 (Reuters) - Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives said on Wednesday they plan to introduce a bill to advance TransCanada's Keystone XL oil pipeline to try to override President Barack Obama's rejection of the $7 billion project.

House Speaker John Boehner told reporters "all options are on the table" to craft a bill to fight for the pipeline, which Republicans say would create thousands of jobs and bolster the economic recovery. "There are legislative vehicles that will be moving in the weeks and months ahead," Boehner said.

House Republicans have not yet decided what kind of legislation they will push, said Lee Terry, a Republican from Nebraska who supports the Canada-to-Texas pipeline.

In November, Terry crafted a bill that would give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission the authority to approve Keystone XL, an option that he said will be a "focal point" for House Republicans.

House Republicans likely will make up their minds on a strategy after a House Energy and Commerce hearing slated for next Wednesday, where Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been invited to testify about Keystone, Terry said.

Senate Republicans have also promised to try to pass legislation to push forward the project, an effort that may run into legal battles but promises to keep the Keystone battle alive as a political issue during the 2012 election campaign.

"I have drafted legislation that I believe is an effective option and we are already working on that and other options with leadership and fellow senators," said Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota in a statement.

Some Democrats support the project because of the jobs it would create. But others have vowed to try to block any Congressional effort for a quick revival because of concerns about the impact of the project on the environment.

"I will fight to ensure Congress does not overturn the decision," said Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats. (Additional reporting by Richard Cowan and Timothy Gardner; Editing by Paul Simao)