Keystone XL bill approved by House Committee

A measure that would would scrap the need for a presidential permit for the northern leg of the project has been approved.

Photo courtesy of Tar Sands Action

The House Natural Resources Committee approved a bill yestrday that would hasten the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline project. 

The committee voted 24-17 in favor of the Northern Route Approval Act, a measure that would would scrap the need for a presidential permit to approve the northern leg of the project crossing the U.S.-Canada border. It also waives the State Department's supplemental environmental review of the revised route through Nebraska.

Republicans voted to defeat five amendments from Democrats to address pipeline safety, oil spill liability, crude export, consultations of Aboriginal groups, as well as campaign contributions related to the pipeline.

The approval comes as a blow to pipeline opponents, as environmental group 350.org recently submitted 1 million comments from citizens opposing the Keystone XL pipeline, which would pump oil sands bitumen from Alberta to refineries in Texas. 

Later, it will go to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. A hearing date is still pending. 

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