UPDATE 2-U.S. senators introduce bill to approve Keystone XL pipeline

Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:24pm EDT
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* Bill would take approval from Obama administration's hands

* Similar legislation last year fell 4 votes short

* There are enough votes to overturn any Obama veto -Hoeven

By Timothy Gardner

WASHINGTON, March 14 (Reuters) - A bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. Senate on Thursday would give Congress the power to approve TransCanada Corp's Keystone XL pipeline project to link Canada's oil sands with refineries and ports in Texas.

The measure, unveiled by John Hoeven, a North Dakota Republican, and Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, would take approval of the more than 800,000-barrels-per-day pipeline out of the hands of the Obama administration.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters after the bill was introduced that the approval process for pipelines crossing international borders belongs with the State Department.

The $5.3 billion pipeline has become a symbol of oil sands development for both its opponents and supporters. Environmentalists say it would open up access to the oil sands which are carbon-intensive to produce.

The pipeline's proponents say the pipeline would bolster North American energy security and usher in thousands of new jobs, and pour capital into the economy.   Continued...