The Subcommittee on Energy and Power, chaired by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), today advanced a bipartisan legislative solution to eliminate the bureaucratic hurdles blocking construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and allow this landmark jobs and energy project to move forward. H.R. 3, the Northern Route Approval Act, authored by Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE), will address all necessary federal permits for the project and limit legal challenges that could further delay construction. The legislation was approved on a bipartisan vote of 17 to 9.
"The goal of North American energy self-sufficiency is within reach, but America can't reach its potential so long as Washington continues to stand in the way," said Chairman Whitfield. "This is much more than a debate about one pipeline. As significant as the jobs and energy from Keystone XL itself are, this bill is nothing less than a referendum on America's energy future and whether we will embrace that future."
Terry added, "Seventy percent of Americans do not believe that we are energy independent. However with the right policies, they believe that we could become energy independent. I believe my bill is the first step in that process and I urge my colleagues to join me in passing H.R. 3 so we can begin building the Keystone pipeline."
The Keystone XL pipeline is facing similar obstacles today as the Alaska Pipeline faced in the early 1970s. To overcome these delays, similar legislation was necessary in 1973 to achieve construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.
"We can look to our past and to the Alaska pipeline as a reason to approve Keystone, but this project is really about our future. Keystone is an opportunity to create jobs and expand our supplies of affordable and reliable North American energy," said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). "The goal of North American energy self-sufficiency is within reach, and there are plenty of factory workers, pipefitters, welders, laborers, electricians, and others ready to create the infrastructure for it. It's time for Congress to act and get this pipeline built. H.R. 3 is the first step toward a brighter energy future."
The full committee is scheduled to vote on H.R. 3 tomorrow. A background memo is available here. Amendments and votes will be available at the same link as they are posted.