Republicans Demand Keystone Approval with Raising Nation's Debt Ceiling
As Congress determines whether to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, many Keystone XL environmental activists, who oppose the construction of the pipeline, feel that the negotiations may become a bargaining chip in discussions between President Barack Obama and Republicans.
House Republicans have created a broad GOP wish list tying an increase in the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling, to avert a fiscal crisis, to President Obama’s approval of constructing the northern leg of the Keystone project.
This decision comes as Congress moves toward a possible Oct. 1 government shutdown. The two parties have a deadline of three weeks to negotiate a debt-limit deal, after Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told Congress Wednesday that the government has an Oct. 17 deadline for raising the limit.
“House Republicans are advocating for pro-growth measures to be included in any agreement to raise the government’s borrowing authority, so adding swift approval of the Keystone XL pipeline is an easy fit,” House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said in a statement.
“The Keystone XL pipeline is a project that will create tens of thousands of jobs, reduce our spending on overseas oil, and increase America’s investment and competitiveness throughout the world,” McCarthy said.
The Keystone XL project is a 1,700-mile pipeline that would carry crude oil from Alberta, Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast. Since the pipeline crosses an international border, it requires federal approval before construction can commence.
In June, President Obama said he would approve the pipeline only if the reviews found it would not “significantly exacerbate” carbon in the environment, the New York Times reported.
The southern leg of the pipeline, from Cushing, Okla. to refineries on the Gulf Coast, will start carrying crude oil by the end of 2013.
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