Keystone XL bill clears House committee

April 25, 2013 at 7:55 AM

WASHINGTON, April 25 (UPI) -- A bill advanced by the House Natural Resources Committee would prevent President Obama from delaying the Keystone XL pipeline, the committee chairman said.

The full House committee voted 24-17 in favor of the Northern Route Approval Act, a measure that would make it easier for pipeline company TransCanada to build the cross-border Keystone XL pipeline.

Committee Chairman U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., blamed Obama blocking the pipeline.

"This important legislation will prevent the Obama administration from imposing further delays on the Keystone XL pipeline and I look forward to further action on this bill from the full House of Representatives," he said in a statement.

Concerns about the pipeline's route through Nebraska forced TransCanada to revise Keystone XL plans, creating a headache for supporters. Canadian officials have defended their environmental record against claims that production of tar sands oil, the type designated for Keystone XL, leads to more greenhouse gas emissions.

A report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency doubted a U.S. State Department assessment that questioned some of the emission figures. Hastings looked to the State Department's report as evidence the pipeline would have "no significant environmental impacts."

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