The House on Wednesday passed the Keystone XL oil pipeline bill despite insufficient votes in the Senate and a threatened veto by President Barack Obama. It was the seventh House voted for the project.
The legislation passed 241-175 with all but one Republican, Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, voting yes. Nineteen Democrats — fewer than have voted for Keystone in the past — voted yes this time, Politico noted
The 1,700-mile pipeline would carry crude oil extracted shale sands in Alberta, Canada, to Texas. Developer TransCanada already has started work on the Texas end.
The State Department is completing an investigation of the project at the request of the Obama administration, Politico reported. TransCanada has been seeking federal government approval for five years.
Republicans, frustrated with the lack of progress, insist the pipeline would create jobs, lower gas prices, and improve national security by making North America more energy independent.
"Five years and still no decision," Rep. Ted Poe of Texas said on the House floor Wednesday. "What does this mean? Well, World War II, where we mobilized America — we went off to war in less than five years. But yet we can't get a decision out of the White House for more than five years on this project. Are you kidding me?"
Democratic opponents, however, argue that the pipeline would harm the environment, increase oil spills, and that gas prices wouldn't drop.
"This bill will hurt American families. It won't lower gas prices by a single penny. It may even raise them. It will lock us into more global warming and risk our farmlands and our water supplies," said Rep. Henry Waxman of California, the ranking Democrat on the Energy committee.
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