House passes pipeline permitting bill

The House on Tuesday passed legislation that would eliminate the requirement that oil and gas pipelines that cross U.S. borders with Mexico or Canada obtain a permit authorized by the administration.

Passed 238-173, the bill is part of the House GOP’s package of bills this week to boost domestic energy production as ways to lower gas and energy prices.

{mosads}Under the bill, developers would be required to obtain a “certificate of crossing” for oil pipelines and electric transmission facilities that cross the border with Mexico or Canada instead of a presidential permit. The secretary of state or energy would be required to issue the certificate within 120 days of final action on an environmental impact statement, unless construction of the project is deemed to not be in the U.S. public interest.

Republicans said the legislation would expedite approval of projects such as the Keystone XL pipeline.

“We can’t afford to have more pipelines delayed that would help America’s energy security,” said Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio).

But Democrats said allowing construction of more tar sands pipelines would increase pollution and endanger the environment. 

“A modern 21st century infrastructure must address the threat of climate change, the biggest energy challenge we face as a country,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.). “Republicans can deny it all they want, but we can’t have a meaningful conversation about America’s energy infrastructure without a conversation about climate change.”

Additionally, the bill would do away with a requirement that the Department of Energy approve imports and exports of natural gas across the U.S. border with Mexico or Canada.  

The House rejected, 171-240, an amendment offered by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) that would exclude any project with a pending permit application from the bill’s new approval requirements.


Tags Bob Latta Jan Schakowsky Keystone XL pipeline

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