US House to try again to advance Keystone pipeline

Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:38pm EDT

* Obama had put the pipeline on hold

* Republicans say pipeline would generate jobs

By Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON, April 13 (Reuters) - Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives will revive efforts to quickly advance the stalled Keystone XL crude oil pipeline and insist that approval for the project be part of a long-term deal to fund highways and other infrastructure.

Earlier this year, President Barack Obama put a hold on TransCanada's $7 billion project, which would ship oil from Canada and northern U.S. states to Texas, because he said it needed further environmental review.

Republicans have attacked the decision by the Democratic president in the run-up to the November presidential elections, saying the United States needs the jobs and the oil as the economy continues to struggle and gasoline prices surge.

Last month, Republicans in the Senate tried to attach approval for the pipeline to a two-year highway funding bill. The bid failed on a vote of 56-42, four short of the 60 needed to pass in the Democratic-controlled chamber. Eleven Democrats voted with the Republicans.

Congress ended up passing a 90-day stopgap funding bill after House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, struggled to find enough support for long-term financing.

"As Congress now prepares to extend transportation programs and negotiate a longer-term package, the House will insist that the Keystone XL legislation be included as part of the package," the House Energy and Commerce Committee said on its web site on Friday.

The House has already passed legislation that would transfer authority for approving the pipeline to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and would require the regulator to quickly issue permits.

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