The North American Energy Infrastructure Act would set a 120-day deadline for the State Department to approve pipelines into Canada or Mexico to expedite the permit process. And the bill would compel the approval of any permit unless found to not be in the “public interest.”
“Additionally, the bill would prevent assessment of whether modifications to border-crossing pipelines or electric transmission facilities are in the national interest, which is provided for through the current process,” the White House added.
The House is planning to vote on the bill Tuesday.
The bill would not apply to Keystone XL or other pipelines currently under review, but Democrats warned that TransCanada Corp. could re-submit the Keystone application under the new rules.
Cross-border oil pipelines currently require a presidential permit and State Department review before construction. At a May meeting of the House Energy and Commerce Committee at which it approved the bill, lawmakers said they were frustrated by the more than five years it has taken Obama to consider Keystone.
“This approach is a sincere effort to focus a targeted solution to lessons learned from the Keystone pipeline,” Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said at the hearing.
“No one can rightly argue that the current presidential permit process at the State Department is not broken, no matter what side of the climate debate you’re on,” he added.