House GOP, citing North African turmoil, boosts Keystone pipeline pressure on Obama

Signatures on the new House letter include House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Reps. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) and Ed WhitfieldWayne (Ed) Edward WhitfieldBottom Line Why Republicans took aim at an ethics watchdog What Azerbaijan wants from Israel? MORE (R-Ky.), two of Upton’s top lieutenants on the panel.

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The Obama administration is reviewing TransCanada Corp.’s proposed pipeline to bring Canadian oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries, a project also slated to carry oil from the booming Bakken formation in North Dakota and Montana.

Upton, in an interview with a Michigan radio station Tuesday, suggested he’ll continue using his chairmanship to raise the pipeline’s profile.

“We are going to be looking at some hearings and perhaps legislation as well to try and move this process along a little bit faster,” he told WHTC.

His committee held hearings on the project in the last Congress, and the House approved legislation to mandate approval, but it didn't advance in the Senate.

Major business groups and a number of unions support the proposed pipeline, but environmental groups strongly oppose it, arguing it furthers development and reliance on carbon-intensive oil sands projects.