Senate Republicans push bill to speed up Keystone pipeline decision

Ben Geman
The Hill

Senate Republicans are floating legislation to speed up federal action on the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, a controversial project that the White House doesn’t currently plan to make a decision on until after the 2012 election.

Six senators including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have crafted a plan that requires a State Department permit for the Alberta-to-Texas pipeline within 60 days unless the president publicly determines that it is not in the national interest, according to a summary.

The Senate bill to be introduced Wednesday is sponsored by GOP Sens. Dick Lugar (Ind.), John Hoeven (N.D.), David Vitter (La.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Mike Johanns (Neb.).

It comes after the State Department recently delayed a final decision until 2013 at the earliest by requiring analysis of revised routes that would move the pipeline away from the ecologically sensitive Sand Hills region of Nebraska…

…[Senator] Lugar is the author and lead sponsor of the bill. He’s the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which has jurisdiction over the State Department…

Read the complete article at The Hill.

Related: U.S. on track to become a net fuel exporter for the first time in 62 years

In 2011, the United States could become a net exporter of petroleum products — gasoline, diesel and other oil-based fuels — for the first time in 62 years. Don’t confuse this with, “U.S. on track to become energy independent.” The fuels we export are at least partly dependent on the oil we import. The possibility for energy independence is there — but the administration’s policies will likely continue to conspire to hamstring domestic energy production.

Nevertheless, this is still an important milestone, as The Wall Street Journal reports…

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