Congressman Steven Palazzo (R-MS) released the following statement after voting in support of H.R. 3, the Northern Route Approval Act, which would clear the way for construction to begin on the Keystone XL pipeline. The bill would bypass Obama administration delays by removing the requirement for a presidential permit from the application process, limiting the judicial review process, satisfying all National Environmental Policy Act requirements and streamlining the review and approval for all other necessary federal permits. It passed the House with bipartisan support by a vote of 241-175.
"Over the last four years, there's been a lot of talk in Washington about job creation and energy independence. Of all the solutions that have been discussed, Keystone is one of the most obvious answers. This bill is a symbol of economic opportunity and American energy freedom. After more than four years of intense study and scrutiny, this project has passed every test with flying colors. Today's vote takes this long overdue decision out of the hands of an Administration that has stood in the way of progress. It is time to build the Keystone XL pipeline."
The sponsor of the pipeline expansion, TransCanada, has estimated that the project will create 20,000 direct jobs and up to 100,000 indirect jobs. In addition, the pipeline would transport as much as 830,000 barrels of oil per day, nearly half of what the U.S. currently imports from the Middle East. A report from the Department of Energy estimates that Keystone XL, combined with greater efficiency and increased North American production, would make enough oil available to completely free the U.S. from reliance on oil from the Middle East.
With four-and-a-half years and more than 15,000 pages of review, Keystone XL is the most studied pipeline in the nation's history. It will also incorporate 57 additional safety standards proposed by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, making it one of the nation's safest pipelines.