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Committee Passes Pipeline Construction Authority

Committee Passes Pipeline Construction Authority

There's still a fight ahead to get legislation through Congress and to President's desk.

Tuesday afternoon, the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted largely along party lines to advance a bill on the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The legislation would give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 30 days to approve the pipeline. The action would take the decision out of the hands of the White House. President Obama denied a permit for the project earlier this year.

"We've got to move the Keystone XL pipeline forward, despite the president's effort to kill it, and this bill does just that," said Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., the bill's author.

The committee vote was 33 to 20 in favor of sending the legislation to the full House. It is expected to be folded into the Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act, which House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, want brought to the House floor for a vote this month.

Despite the advancement of the bill, there is some serious opposition to it in the Senate that must be cleared before it can be sent to the President for his signature.

On Tuesday, Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, withdrew a proposal to link Keystone to the Senate's highway funding bill.

"It is absolutely tragic that the prime minister of Canada is now negotiating with the Chinese to take their oil because we're too stupid to allow a pipeline to go through," Hatch said at a Senate Finance Committee hearing.

Senator Max Baucus, D-Mont., the chairman of the Finance Committeel, convinced Hatch to withdraw his measure. Although Baucus says he strongly supports the pipeline he told Hatch that linking it to the highway funding bill would prevent it from passing.

Meanwhile as the fight over the Canada to Texas pipeline continues in Washington, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is leading a trade delegation to Beijing and will focus on exporting oil to Asia. He says even if the pipeline issue is resolved, Canada will still work to export oil to China.

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