The House of Representatives has approved a bill to allow construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport about 830,000 barrels of oil per day from North American oil supplies to U.S. refineries.
H.R. 3, the Northern Route Approval Act, was passed “as expected,” specifically declaring that a presidential permit was not needed to approve the Canada-to-Nebraska leg of the pipeline, a move that would take the decision on the project away from the Obama administration, Reuters reports. TransCanada’s pipeline would link Alberta’s oil sands production with refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast.
The legislation now moves to the Senate, where it has to have enough votes to overcome a promised veto from President Obama. The pipeline section from Alberta to Nebraska needs presidential approval because it crosses a national border. The pipeline’s southern leg, for Texas to Oklahoma, is more than halfway built.
Reps. Bill Shuster, R-Pa.., chairman of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and Jeff Denham, R-Calif., chairman of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials, co-sponsored the bill.
“Construction of the Keystone XL pipeline continues to be delayed by the president after more than 1,700 days,” Shuster said.
According to the State Department, “non-OPEC Canadian crude oil supplies advance the energy security of the United States, given Canada’s close proximity, our free trade agreements and our close bilateral relationship with this stable democracy.” The bill is also supported by many unions because it would provide thousands of construction jobs.
However, environmentalists have shown strong opposition to it, saying it would raise greenhouse gas levels and lock the U.S. into long-term dependence on fossil fuels.