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House moves cross-border pipeline bill

Bill is a 'sincere effort' to amend current laws for energy infrastructure.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   May 9, 2014 at 9:33 AM
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WASHINGTON, May 9 (UPI) -- A bill passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee fixes a broken permit system for cross-border pipelines like Keystone XL, Chairman Fred Upton said.

The committee passed resolution 3301, which reforms the permit process needed for energy infrastructure projects that cross the U.S. border with Canada or Mexico.

Members of the Republican Party, along with some Democrats, have expressed frustration with the process. Pipeline company TransCanada submitted an application to build Keystone XL more than five years ago, though a U.S. section of the project has since gone into service.

Rep. Upton, R-Mich., said the legislation aims to fix what he said is a broken permit procedure.

"This approach is a sincere effort to focus on a targeted solution to the lessons learned from the Keystone pipeline," he said in a statement Thursday.

Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas, who co-authored the bill, said the legislation would put the United States in a position to gain from the surplus of oil and natural gas, while capitalizing on recent reforms in the Mexican energy sector as well as the large supply of oil coming from Canada.

House leaders have tried various legislative approaches to streamline the permit process for Keystone XL, a project that's become the scapegoat for environmental activists worried about the perceived harmful effects of the heavier grade of crude oil designated for the pipeline.

Senate leaders are debating similar legislation that would approve Keystone XL without the necessary federal sign-offs.

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