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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
      Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials
      House Committee on Foreign Affairs
      House Committee on Energy and Commerce
      Energy and Power
      House Committee on Natural Resources
      Energy and Mineral Resources
      Public Lands and Environmental Regulation
    IntroducedDecember 11th, 2013

What is it?

This bill would pave the way for the completion of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

The Keystone pipeline system is a network of oil pipelines that transport crude oil extracted from Alberta, Canada to refineries across America. The TransCanada Corporation, the owner of the pipeline, has completed several portions in the United States. But approval for the XL Pipeline, which would include a stretch from Canada to Nebraska, and then a separate portion from Kansas to the Texas Gulf Coast, has been held up indefinitely by the Obama administration for two years due to environmental concerns.

H.R. 3703 would direct the Secretary of State to remove the legal obstacles blocking the proposed extension, allowing roughly 1,700 miles of pipeline to be built between Nebraska and the Gulf Coast. Here’s how it would be done:

  • The Secretary of State would issue a Presidential permit approving TransCanada’s application for the pipeline, including its proposed re-route through Nebraska.
  • The Secretary would also issue a final environmental impact statement and evaluation report stating that the project won’t result in significant harm to the environment, endangered species or historic lands.
  • Senior federal officials who delay permits or environmental reports for the XL pipeline would be punished with a 75 percent cap on their salaries. 

Impact

People living in Alberta, Montana North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas. The construction industry, the oil refining industry, the TransCanada Corporation. Potentially the Ogallala Aquifer.

Cost

The CBO does not have a cost estimate at this time.

More Information

In Depth:

The Keystone XL project has been stalled since 2008, when TransCanada first filed an application for the pipeline. The State Department, which has to approve projects that cross the U.S. border, is still determining whether or not to grant a permit to the company.

Republicans and Democrats have repeatedly tried to pass legislation to get the pipeline up and running with no luck. But that could change in November, when Republicans, who overwhelmingly support the XL Pipeline, are expected to gain a majority in both houses of Congress. Of course, President Obama would still have to sign off on any bill related to Keystone, but he would face greater political pressure to do so.

That said, it’s very much up in the air whether Obama will greenlight the XL Pipeline during his remaining two years in office. In a speech from 2013, Obama announced that the pipeline would have to avoid contributing significantly to climate change in order to win his approval. That’s a pretty tall order for a project that is expected to move 800,000 barrels worth of crude oil every day.

Environmentalists in particular are anxiously waiting to see if Obama will take a firmer stand against the XL Pipeline. The President allowed a comprehensive climate-change bill to die in the Senate in 2009, which left some activists skeptical about whether the White House really has its heart in the fight. 

The stakes in this fight are high for both sides. Environmentalists worry that approval of the project will effectively endorse the continued extraction of bitumen (otherwise known as oil sands or tar sands) in Canada, which has devastated the local environment and contributed to global warming. For TransCanada, which controls the world’s only landlocked oil reserve, the Keystone XL pipeline is their best bet for reaching an international market. For many members of Congress, the pipeline represents a potential source of jobs and income for their constituents, as well as a source of energy security

Media:

New York Times

Reuters

Los Angeles Times

Washington Post

FOE

Keystone XL

(Photo Credit: Flickr user rcbodden)

AKA

Approve the Pipeline Now Act

Official Title

To provide for the expedited approval of the construction, operation, and maintenance of the Keystone XL pipeline, and for other purposes.