The U.S. House of Representatives today overwhelmingly approved legislation that would clear a number of bureaucratic hurdles for the Keystone Pipeline which has been stuck in the review process for nearly five years.
The $7 billion private infrastructure investment would bring Canadian oil some 1,700 miles to the American Gulf Coast for processing.
Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA), a cosponsor of the legislation, praised House passage and urged the Senate to act quickly.
"We can't afford to let this project linger any longer," Kingston said. "It would directly support 20,000 American jobs without a dime from taxpayers. It would offset half the oil we import from countries in the Middle East with oil from one of our longest-standing allies. It's time for the Senate to join us in breaking the bureaucratic logjam."
In addition to the 20,000 jobs the pipeline's operator, TransCanada, estimates the pipeline's construction will directly support, economists believe the project will create a total of 118,000 jobs.
To date, the government's review has lasted more than one day for every mile of proposed pipeline. The State Department's review has generated 15,500 pages in its study alone.
While Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (R-NV) has not scheduled a vote on similar legislation, the chamber approved a non-binding resolution supporting the pipeline with a filibuster-proof 62 votes.
Kingston says the delay in approving the Keystone Pipeline -- which he likens to his decade-long crusade to deepen Savannah's harbor -- should be a rallying cry to reform the process by which the federal government reviews large infrastructure projects.
"Whether it is Keystone or the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, the federal government bureaucracy is standing in the way of infrastructure investment in this country," said Kingston. "While we drag our feet, China is preparing itself for the economy of tomorrow. If we don't fix this process soon, we risk economic stagnation for generations to come."