Oversight Republicans subpoena Kerry for Keystone documents

House Republicans have subpoenaed Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryCutting corners in a federal campaign is criminal Navy investigation concludes Iran broke international law by detaining sailors Top Democrat wants Obama to block Boeing's deal with Iran MORE for documents related to the Obama administration’s review of the Keystone XL pipeline. 

“Congress has a right to review these documents,” Rep. Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzOvernight Energy: Obama signs chemical safety reform into law House caucus to focus on business in Latin America Freedom Caucus urges vote on impeaching IRS commissioner MORE (R-Utah), the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Wednesday. 

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“The Department has been uncooperative in the committee’s efforts to conduct oversight of the Keystone XL permitting process and has shown an unwillingness to recognize the committee’s legitimate interest in obtaining information. In light of this, a subpoena is necessary and appropriate.”

Committee Republicans have twice asked the State Department to provide it with all “reports, recommendations, letters and comments” related to their review of the pipeline. In a June letter, Chaffetz said the department has not been willing to give the committee those documents or to allow members to review them.

Other agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, had posted some of their project documents online for inspection, but the State Department, which is currently reviewing the pipeline, “has refused to make even a single page available to the Committee,” Chaffetz wrote with Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), chairwoman of Oversight’s Interior Department subcommittee, in June.

“We will not be stymied in carrying out our responsibility to the American people to effectively oversee the executive branch,” Chaffetz said Wednesday. 

A State Department representative did not immediately return a request for comment.

The subpoena opens a new front in the fight between congressional Republicans and the Obama administration over the pipeline project. Lawmakers passed a bill earlier this year authorizing the pipeline, but Obama vetoed it, citing the State Department’s review. 

The Obama administration’s review of the pipeline, which would transport oil from the Alberta oil sands to the Gulf of Mexico, is nearly seven years old. The State Department is considering comments on the proposal now, and Kerry will eventually make a recommendation on the project to Obama.