Republicans who support the bill argue that the State Department has had enough time to examine TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL pipeline. TransCanada applied for a permit for the project with the State Department in September 2008, but no decision has been rendered in the 33 months since.

The pipeline would carry crude oil from Canada's oil sands from Alberta to refineries in Texas, and would cut through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.), argues that approving the pipeline would bring hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil per day to U.S. refineries, and help lower gas prices.


"I find it frustrating that it would seem our U.S. energy policy is to get heavy crude from Venezuela — hardly a friendly nation — while continually delaying heavy oil from our North American neighbor," he said earlier this year.

The bill would not loosen U.S. environmental review standards, but would simply set a Nov. 1 deadline for a decision.

The Environmental Protection Agency has raised objections to the project so far, saying that the State Department's environmental analysis is "insufficient." Senate Democrats just last week also called for further analysis.