WASHINGTON — Legislation to force approval of the Keystone XL pipeline is on track for a House vote by Memorial Day.
That would highlight the controversial project just as the summer travel season kicks off.
Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., on Friday introduced legislation to push through the project that would transport more than 800,000 barrels a day from the oil sands of Canada to Texas refineries.
The pipeline currently requires presidential approval because it crosses an international border, but it has been under environmental reviews for more than four years.
The route now under consideration was submitted in May 2012.
President Barack Obama remained noncommittal about his decision when he met with Republicans this week, saying it could come later this year.
“We've been down this road before,” Terry said during a bipartisan press conference Friday touting his legislation. “We are not confident they'll ever get to a decision.”
Sens. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D. also called Friday for speedy approval of the pipeline.
While pipeline supporters renew their legislative efforts, opponents have gained momentum as well. Tens of thousands of protestors staged a major demonstration last month at the White House.
“Why Rep. Terry is willing to take serious risks to property rights without any benefit to energy independence or long-term jobs says volumes about the lack of common sense in Washington,” said Jane Kleeb, executive director of the anti-pipeline group Bold Nebraska.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton said that the bill would be on the House floor by Memorial Day.
“There is no reason for us to not only refine that oil, but also to keep most of it in the U.S.,” the Michigan Republican said.
This article includes material from Bloomberg News.
Contact the writer: 202-630-4823, firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter.com/MortonOWH