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House to Vote on Keystone Pipeline Friday

Monday, 05 Jan 2015 08:57 PM

The House of Representatives will vote Friday on a bill authorizing construction of the Canada-to-U.S. Keystone XL oil pipeline, currently blocked by Democrats but a priority in the new Republican Congress.

The House passed similar legislation in November but it fell one vote short in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

The new leadership in the Senate, which flips to a Republican majority Tuesday following November elections, has said it has enough votes to pass the measure.

House Republican Kevin Cramer said he will introduce the new bill Tuesday, the day lawmakers return to Washington to begin the new congressional session.

"By passing this bill in the House and Senate with bipartisan votes, we can help provide the political muscle the president needs to finally approve this piece of critical transportation infrastructure," Cramer said Monday in a statement.

An identical measure will be considered in the Senate, where the energy committee has scheduled a Wednesday hearing to debate Keystone.

The massive 1,179-mile project, which President Barack Obama's administration has held up for years over environmental concerns, would carry crude oil mined in Canada's tar sands to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries.

Environmentalists and some Democrats have expressed fierce opposition, but Republicans have long backed the plan, arguing it will boost U.S. oil and gas production and create jobs.

Canadian firm TransCanada first proposed the pipeline in 2008, and Ottawa strongly backs the project.

Alberta's tar sands are considered to have "dirty" oil. Unlike traditional crude that gushes from a well, tar sand oil must be dug up and essentially melted with steaming hot water before it can be refined.

This means more fossil fuels must be burned as part of the extraction process, leading to more greenhouse gas emissions and further fueling climate change, according to Keystone's critics.

Republicans have elevated Keystone as a symbol of their renewed focus on American jobs and energy.

If Congress passes the Keystone legislation, as expected, Obama could issue a veto, which lawmakers would only be able to override with a two-thirds majority in each chamber.

 

© AFP 2017

 
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The US House of Representatives will vote Friday on a bill authorizing construction of the Canada-to-US Keystone XL oil pipeline, currently blocked by Democrats but a priority in the new Republican Congress.
US, Canada, politics, energy, oil
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2015-57-05
Monday, 05 Jan 2015 08:57 PM
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