The Obama administration this week rejected a permit filed by TransCanada for the Keystone XL pipeline. Republican leaders inserted a rider into a measure extending payroll tax benefits that gave U.S. President Barack Obama until Feb. 21 to decide on the pipeline.
With TransCanada reviewing alternative routes for the project in Nebraska, Obama said he rejected the permit in part because of the "arbitrary" deadline.
U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House energy and commerce committee, said he called on the U.S. State Department to explain why Obama was advised to reject the permit. The State Department was involved because Keystone XL would cross international borders.
"With President Obama unable to say yes, Congress is not taking any options off the table as we look at steps we can take to make sure this pipeline gets built," Upton said in a statement. "We want to know why this project was derailed at the 11th hour after an extensive review process and with time to spare before the president's deadline."
TransCanada initially proposed the project in 2008. White House spokesman Jay Carney said TransCanada hadn't picked an alternative route yet for Keystone XL.
"It is a fallacy to suggest that anything besides the arbitrary insistence by House Republicans on setting a false deadline is responsible for the decision," he said.