US lawmakers draft bill to speed decision on Keystone pipeline

Thu Mar 7, 2013 5:16pm EST
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* Draft bill would end need for presidential permit

* Bill backed by two House Democrats, GOP energy leaders

* Senator looking for vehicle for similar bill

By Ayesha Rascoe

WASHINGTON, March 7 (Reuters) - Proponents of the Keystone XL pipeline in the House of Representatives on Thursday outlined a new push to take the decision on the project out of the hands of the Obama Administration and to limit further legal and regulatory delays.

Congressman Lee Terry, Republican from Nebraska, authored draft legislation that would eliminate the need for a presidential permit for the northern section of the pipeline, which would transport Canadian oil sands crude into the United States.

The State Department has been weighing TransCanada's application for a permit for the 800,000 barrel-per-day pipeline for more than four years, repeatedly delaying the process as environmentalists raised concerns about potential spills from the pipeline and its impact on climate change.

The presidential permit is currently necessary because the pipeline would cross the U.S.-Canadian border.

"If we see further delays as we have in the past; Congress is ready to act," Terry said in a statement. "This discussion draft is part of that process."   Continued...