House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders today outlined a new path forward on the Keystone XL pipeline, releasing a discussion draft of legislation that will remove the project's fate from the president's hands and clear away the roadblocks preventing construction of the pipeline. The draft legislation, authored by Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE), will eliminate the need for a Presidential Permit and find that the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) issued by the Secretary of State on August 26, 2011, shall satisfy all NEPA requirements. The legislation also limits the legal challenges that can be brought against the project to prevent further unnecessary delays.
The Keystone XL pipeline is a $7 billion jobs and energy infrastructure project that has been tied up in regulatory review for over four years. Last week, the State Department released its draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS), which found that the pipeline, including the revised Nebraska route, would have limited adverse environmental impacts. This review follows the State Department's initial analysis that lasted for more than three years and found the pipeline to be environmentally sound.
"It's been over four years and thousands of pages of environmental reviews. The experts have weighed in. Now is the time to build the Keystone Pipeline," said Terry. "If we see further delays as we have in the past; Congress is ready to act. This discussion draft is part of that process."
Energy and Commerce Democrats Jim Matheson (D-UT) and John Barrow (D-GA) partnered with Rep. Terry to co-author the legislation that would allow construction of the pipeline to move forward.
"Construction of the Keystone XL pipeline is long overdue. This project creates thousands of high-paying, high-skilled jobs, and puts America on a long-term path to energy independence," said Matheson and Barrow. "Multiple reviews by the Obama Administration indicate that this pipeline will have no significant environmental impacts. This delay is just playing politics with American jobs and American energy security, and it's time to move forward with construction of the pipeline."
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) were also co-authors of the bill and committed to moving the bipartisan solution through the committee.
"Rep. Terry has been a leading champion for Keystone in the House and he will continue to carry the torch as we work to stop the administration's delays and get this pipeline built. We have already waited four years for this pipeline, and without congressional action, we can expect the waiting to continue," said Upton and Whitfield. "We should learn from our experience with the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and act swiftly to move this legislation through the committee and through the House so we can stop waiting and start building and get folks back to work."
This is the fourth piece of legislation authored by Rep. Terry to advance construction of the job-creating Keystone XL pipeline. Last Congress, the House voted a total of six times to allow for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which is estimated to create thousands of direct and indirect jobs and carry nearly a million additional barrels per day of secure Canadian oil supplies to U.S. refineries.