Dem aide: Keystone pipeline left out of final transportation bill

Provisions authorizing construction of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline won’t be part the compromise transportation bill that House and Senate lawmakers are rushing to complete, according to a Senate Democratic aide familiar with the talks.

Republicans have pushed for language that would approve a federal cross-border permit for TransCanada Corp.’s proposed pipeline, which would carry oil sands crude from Alberta to Gulf Coast refineries.

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The House version of the package approved in April would authorize the project, while the Senate version of the transportation programs funding bill omits the provision.

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) did not address the fate of the pipeline. “I’m not confirming or denying whether anything is in or out today,” spokesman Michael Steel said.

A Senate GOP aide cautioned that “nothing is final until Boehner gets a firm count in his caucus. “

Republicans in both chambers have been pushing for inclusion of the provision, but the White House threatened to veto the House bill, alleging it would short-circuit a federal review of Keystone that’s slated to last into 2013.

Forcing approval of Keystone also faces significant opposition from Senate Democrats, although the caucus is not united on the issue. An amendment to authorize the pipeline narrowly failed in the Senate earlier this year.