UPDATE 1-U.S. House votes to force approval of Keystone pipeline

Wed May 22, 2013 7:53pm EDT
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By Ros Krasny

WASHINGTON May 22 (Reuters) - The House of Representatives approved a bill as expected on Wednesday declaring that a presidential permit was not needed to approve the Canada-to-Nebraska leg of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, a move that would take a decision on the project away from the Obama administration.

The Republican-controlled House voted 241-175 with support from some Democrats.

The bill faces an uphill battle because it would have to pass the Senate with enough votes to overcome a promised veto from President Barack Obama.

"We've waited 1,700 days for this project," Fred Upton, Republican of Michigan, said as the floor debate wound down, adding that moving oil by pipeline was "safer and more economical" than other methods.

A series of amendments, some dealing with pipeline safety and the cost of cleaning up potential pipeline spills, were defeated along party lines.

The White House's Office of Management and Budget said in a memo on Tuesday that the House bill "conflicts with long-standing Executive branch procedures" and that Obama's advisers would recommend a veto.

TransCanada Corp's pipeline would link Alberta's oil sands production with refineries and ports along the U.S. Gulf Coast. The pipeline would transport about 830,000 barrels per day and cost some $5.3 billion to construct.   Continued...