US House committee approves Keystone XL project permit bill

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, June 24 -- The US House Energy and Commerce Committee on June 23 passed legislation aimed at pressuring the Obama administration to reach a decision on the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline project’s cross-border permit application. The full committee passed HR 1238 by 33 to 13 votes after its Energy and Power Subcommittee approved the bill on June 15.

The measure would require the US Department of State to reach a decision on the proposal by Nov. 1. The project would expand shipments from Canada of oil produced from Alberta oil sands by 1.3 million b/d. “This project has been delayed long enough,” committee chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said following the vote. “It’s time to make a decision, and this bipartisan bill will make it happen.”

Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.), the bill’s sponsor, noted that the Obama administration announced earlier in the day that it would release 30 million bbl of crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in response to market unrest stemming from supply interruption concerns resulting from political unrest in North Africa and the Middle East.

“I find it frustrating that it would seem our US energy policy is to get heavy crude from Venezuela—hardly a friendly nation—while continually delaying heavy oil from our North American neighbor,” Terry said. “Our bill is simple: Set a schedule, coordinate that schedule, and execute a decision process.”

HR 1238 now heads for the House floor, but probably won’t be debated and voted on until after the Independence Day recess.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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