US Senate Panel Advances Bill To Force Keystone Pipeline Approval


WASHINGTON, June 18 (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate Energy Committee advanced a bill on Wednesday that would force congressional approval of TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline project, but the measure seems unlikely to be taken up by the full Senate.

The bill, the latest effort by lawmakers to breathe life into the long-delayed pipeline from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast, will languish without a commitment from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to bring it to a vote.

The measure, from Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Republican Senators John Hoeven of North Dakota and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, would take a decision on approving the pipeline away from the Obama administration.

Republican Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming termed Wednesday's vote "a cheerleading exercise" but still voted in favor of the bill, part of a 12-10 majority on the panel.

Another measure from Hoeven to approve the pipeline has 55 cosponsors but has not been put to a vote in the 100-member Senate. Support is just short of the level that would be needed to overcome an expected veto from President Barack Obama.

"The obstacle to getting Keystone built is not the Energy Committee, it's the Senate Majority Leader," Barrasso said of Reid, a Democrat from Nevada. "The Senate Majority Leader could have scheduled a vote at any time in the past seven weeks."

Last month, Senate Republicans blocked a bipartisan energy-efficiency bill backed by manufacturers and environmentalists, and by doing so forfeited a chance to vote on the long-delayed pipeline.

Reid at the time had offered a vote on Hoeven's Keystone bill if Republicans allowed passage of the energy bill.

TransCanada has waited more than five years a decision on the $5.4 billion project, which would carry up to 830,000 barrels per day of crude from the oil sands of northern Alberta to refiners in Texas.

(Reporting by Ros Krasny; Editing by Susan Heavey)

Copyright 2015 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.


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THOMAS M. JONES | Jun. 23, 2014
They cant win approval to build the pipeline in Canada, so send it to the U.S. and let them refine and send products to China. So what if this refined Canadian material doesnt drive down the price of fuel in the U.S.

N B Strong | Jun. 20, 2014
When politics overcomes common sense and stupidity becomes seemingly the norm then we truly have to impeach this totally un American President. Whos side is he actually on .

EW3 | Jun. 19, 2014
Not to worry, Harry Reid will block this from ever coming up to a vote. He is the ultimate Dr. No.


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