Senate panel sets hearing on Keystone XL

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the contentious Keystone XL oil pipeline next week.

The hearing, announced Tuesday, will be the first one held by new Chairwoman Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiOvernight Energy: Obama integrates climate change into national security planning GOP pressures Kerry on Russia's use of Iranian airbase Overnight Energy: Lawmakers kick off energy bill talks MORE (R-Alaska).

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Notice of the hearing comes as Republicans are gearing up to take control of the Senate.

Before the end of the 113th Congress, incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnell9/11 bill is a global blunder that will weaken US efforts abroad States urged to bolster election security How the White House got rolled on the Saudi-9/11 bill MORE (R-Ky.) said legislation approving the $8 billion oil sands project would be the first item brought to the floor by the GOP in January.

“The leader said that Keystone will be the first bill the Senate takes up and it will be open to amendments on the floor,” McConnell spokesman Michael Burmas told The Hill.

McConnell has yet to say when the first vote will be held.

The committee hearing on the Canada-to-Texas pipeline is scheduled for Jan. 7.