Upton Announces Vote on Legislation to Approve Job-Creating Keystone XL Pipeline

February 3, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) today announced the path forward for legislation to approve the job-creating Keystone XL pipeline. The Energy and Commerce Committee will mark up H.R. 3548, the North American Energy Access Act, next week, setting the stage for the legislation to be folded into the Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act when that legislation comes to the House floor for a vote this month.

"President Obama had more than enough time and information to do the right thing and say yes to this job-creating project, but he failed again and again. It's time for Congress to take this decision out of the president's hands and take the politics out of a commonsense pipeline that will bring economic and energy security," said Upton.

The North American Energy Access Act gives the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authority and oversight over the pipeline's permit and construction. The legislation requires FERC to approve the pipeline's permit within 30 days, with the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) prepared by the U.S. State Department as the basis for its decision. The FEIS examined several scenarios for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, including not building it at all, and found in August of 2011 that building the pipeline was the preferred alternative. Likewise, the legislation gives FERC 30 days to approve the Nebraska re-route after the state's governor has completed necessary environmental review and approved it.

FERC has decades of demonstrated experience siting interstate natural gas pipelines, making it the expert agency best suited to carry out this process and eliminate the political calculations that have led to repeated delays. The Energy and Commerce Committee will vote on H.R. 3548 on Tuesday, February 7, 2012. Additional markup details will be posted on the Energy and Commerce Committee website as they become available.

"This is a shovel-ready project that won't cost taxpayers a dime. It is the ideal energy infrastructure project - one that will create jobs while expanding access to safe and secure energy supplies from a close ally and trading partner," said Upton. "We made it clear that if President Obama cannot say yes to jobs and energy security, the decision will no longer be his to make. I'm pleased to see the Keystone XL pipeline added to the Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act, and I am proud to join colleagues on both sides of the aisle as we keep fighting for this project."

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