GOP's Upton wants to speed up cross-border oil pipeline projects

A senior House Republican is pushing a bill to speed up approval of cross-border oil pipelines, end the State Department’s lead review role and cut environmental study.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Rep. Gene GreenRaymond (Gene) Eugene GreenTexas New Members 2019 Two Democrats become first Texas Latinas to serve in Congress Latina Leaders to Watch 2018 MORE (D-Texas) unveiled a draft bill Wednesday that would revamp permitting for these oil pipelines, as well as gas pipelines and electricity transmission projects that cross the U.S. border.

“This bipartisan legislation will restore certainty and ensure future cross-border energy projects are reviewed and approved in a reasonable manner so we can move forward and build the architecture of abundance necessary to fulfill our energy future,” Upton said in a statement.

ADVERTISEMENT

The bill, which a committee panel will review next Wednesday, arrives as Republicans and centrist Democrats allege the State Department is dragging its feet in the yearslong review of the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.

The legislation puts the Commerce Department, not the State Department, in charge of permitting cross-border oil pipelines and sets a 120-day limit on reviews of cross-border oil, gas and electricity transmission project applications.

The bill waives detailed National Environmental Policy Act review of cross-border energy projects.

Environmentalists attacked the legislation.

The National Wildlife Federation said it would create a “meaningless review process designed to rubber stamp fossil fuel energy projects.”

“The bill would eviscerate review and consideration of environmental concerns and cut the public out of the process,” the group said.