Energy panel approves bill to speed up Keystone XL decision

Republicans and some Democrats see TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline as an essential component of the country’s energy mix, arguing that it will create jobs and make the U.S. less reliant on Middle Eastern oil.

The State Department is in the process of reviewing the Keystone XL proposal. Republicans have said the review has been dragging on for too long.

But Democrats and environmental and public lands groups have blasted the proposal, citing recent leaks at one of TransCanada’s existing pipelines and raising concerns about the high levels of greenhouse gas emissions associated with oil sands production.

The 1,600-mile proposed Keystone XL pipeline would carry Canadian oil sands from Alberta to refineries in Texas.

League of Conservation Voters Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld blasted the bill Thursday.

“The bill that passed out of the Energy and Commerce Committee today is yet another example of Big Oil and its allies in Congress recklessly pushing the failed energy policies of the past rather than pursuing clean energy solutions that will create jobs, improve our national security, and protect the planet from global warming pollution,” Sittenfeld said.