The White House in January delayed a permit for TransCanada to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The pipeline would transit crude oil from tar sands projects in Alberta to refineries along the southern U.S. coast.
U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, joined five other lawmakers in proposing legislation that would ensure Keystone XL oil is sold in the United States.
"You can't sneak a 1,700-mile pipeline past the American people and you shouldn't be able to sneak the oil out of the United States either," Markey said in a statement. "Other countries shouldn't be allowed to bisect our country with a pipeline and then bypass our citizens to send the oil abroad."
API, a trade group that represents around 400 oil and natural gas entities, said Markey's tactics were on par with those of repressive regimes like North Korea.
"Any effort to restrict market forces on commodities like oil and natural gas is a North Korean style model of economics and has no place here in America," API Chief Economist John Felmy said in a statement. "Having the flexibility to export more should there be an occasional surplus of supply would go a long way to help reduce our trade deficit."
Both sides of the debate over Keystone XL accuse the other of using the project for political gain.
TransCanada, after the White House denied the original permit, said it plans to reapply.