Lawmakers try again with Keystone XL

April 19, 2012 at 8:18 AM

WASHINGTON, April 19 (UPI) -- An environmental group accused U.S. lawmakers of grandstanding on the Keystone XL pipeline, though a congressional leader said energy security is at stake.

The U.S. House of Representatives, by a vote of 293-127, passed a transportation funding bill that includes a rider on the planned Keystone XL oil pipeline. The measure would remove presidential authority over the pipeline.

The White House needs to give its consent to Keystone XL because it crosses the U.S. border with Canada.

Jeremy Symons, a senior vice president at the National Wildlife Federation, criticized the politicking over the project.

"House leaders are grandstanding on the Keystone pipeline once again for their oil company allies but this effort to take the decision out of the hands of safety regulators should die in conference," he said in a statement.

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said U.S. energy security is at stake.

"As these gas prices continue to go up, Americans understand supply and demand. 800,000 barrels a day that we can get from our friends, the Canadians," he said during floor debate. "And if we don't do so, where is it going to go? China."

U.S. President Barack Obama, who rejected a similar Republican effort in January, has threatened to veto the bill.

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