Lawmakers push bills to approve Keystone pipeline

WASHINGTON Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:50pm EDT

The Keystone Oil Pipeline is pictured under construction in North Dakota in this undated photograph released on January 18, 2012. REUTERS/TransCanada Corporation/Handout

The Keystone Oil Pipeline is pictured under construction in North Dakota in this undated photograph released on January 18, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/TransCanada Corporation/Handout

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Lawmakers in both chambers of Congress said Friday they are moving forward with bills introduced this week to pluck the power of approving the Keystone XL pipeline, which would run from Canada's oil sands to Texas, from the hands of the Obama administration.

Republican Rep. Lee Terry from Nebraska introduced a bipartisan bill on Friday to approve TransCanada Corp's 800,000 barrels per day Keystone XL pipeline. It is a companion bill to a bipartisan bill introduced on Thursday by Senators John Hoeven, a North Dakota Republican, and Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat.

A senior lawmaker said he hopes to have the bill ready for a vote in the full House of Representatives by the end of May.

"Our intent is to bring it to the House floor prior to Memorial Day," Fred Upton, the chair of the chamber's energy and commerce committee, told reporters. The Memorial Day holiday lands on May 27 this year.

Hoeven said he believes the Senate bill currently has more than 50 votes of the 60 needed in the 100-seat chamber. But he expected the bill would easily get more supporters.

President Barack Obama is expected to make a decision on the oil sands pipeline around August or later, after the State Department finalizes an environmental assessment of the project.

TransCanada filed for a permit more than 4-1/2 years ago.

The State Department must also determine whether the pipeline is in the national interest, a decision made with input from several federal agencies. That determination alone is slated to take at least 90 days.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Thursday that the decision process on trans-border pipelines belongs with the State Department.

A southern leg of the pipeline, from Texas to Oklahoma, that did not need approval from the State Department is more than halfway built. Besides taking Canadian oil sands crude, the full Keystone XL pipeline would help drain a glut of petroleum building up from the Montana and North Dakota oil boom.

(Reporting by Timothy Gardner,; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick; and Peter Galloway)

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Comments (10)
jaham wrote:
Good – put this legislation to Democrats in the Senate and make them prove that they like Americans paying top dollar for energy, that they don’t want to increase domestic employment by tapping our plentiful resources, that they want to punish the private sector with more regulatory burdens to decrease employment, and that they do not yet realize that renewables are not efficient and scalable for industry.

Mar 15, 2013 11:27am EDT  --  Report as abuse
OneOfTheSheep wrote:
Canada is and has always been a good friend of the United States. Friends help each other. They don’t have to be alike like clones or in any specific way. They just have to be friends and act like it.

It amazes me how many there are that apparently want the United States to have NO friends in this world.

Mar 15, 2013 12:09pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Burns0011 wrote:
Why is the GOP so concerned with increasing Canadian oil company profits over the health and well-being of the citizens, residents, wildlife and plant life of the United States of America? How much are they receiving in bribes and ‘campaign contributions’ from this company?

Mar 15, 2013 12:19pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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