The Energy and Commerce Committee today approved legislation to save the job-creating Keystone XL pipeline, a shovel-ready jobs and energy security project that President Obama delayed and ultimately rejected. H.R. 3548, the North American Energy Access Act, will finally put an end to years of bureaucratic delays and expedite construction of the pipeline that would create tens of thousands of American jobs and displace less stable energy imports with millions of barrels of safe and secure Canadian oil supplies.
H.R. 3548, authored by Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE), takes politics out of the pipeline decision by removing the president's authority over the pipeline's permit and giving it to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The legislation instructs FERC to approve the pipeline within 30 days if the permit remains in compliance with State Department's Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), which concluded building the pipeline was the "preferred" option. The legislation also gives FERC 30 days to approve the Nebraska re-route once the environmental review is complete and the state's governor has approved it.
The benefits of the pipeline are clear-- job creation, lower gasoline prices, and greater energy security for America. While members on both sides of the aisle have lined up in support of the project, some Democratic opponents continue to try and block the pipeline. Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Henry Waxman (D-CA) went as far as to argue that pipeline jobs are not "real jobs" -- a stance that several labor unions representing millions of American workers might be surprised to hear. After all, organized labor has lined up in support of this pipeline because of the jobs it would provide for union workers. Republicans rejected a series of misleading attacks and efforts to distract attention from the popular pipeline project, and the bill was approved by a bipartisan vote of 33 to 20.
"It is not unprecedented to lay an oil pipeline across America. Many pipelines already crisscross our great country. Opposition to Keystone demonstrates a lack of knowledge about how energy is moved throughout the U.S., or a desire to gain political points," said Terry. "Let's put the politics aside and get on with it. We need the jobs, oil, and energy security that Keystone will bring our country. We've got to move the Keystone XL Pipeline forward, despite the president's effort to kill it -- and this bill does just that."
"This pipeline will allow more Canadian oil to reach American refineries, thereby creating jobs, enhancing the nation's energy security, and helping reduce the future price at the pump," said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). "The administration's own Final Environmental Impact Statement concludes that there is nothing to be gained by rejecting the pipeline. The arguments against H.R. 3548 are as weak as the arguments for it are strong. It's time to end the delays and start building."
As previously announced by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), H.R. 3548 will now become part of the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act. Chairman Upton said he is pleased to see this legislation be included in this critical jobs and energy package, which would remove barriers to North American energy production and create more than a million private-sector jobs.