NEW YORK The House of
Representatives has passed a bill expediting the approval
process for TransCanada Corp.s proposed Keystone XL
The Northern Route Approval Act
(H.R.3), which eliminates the need for a presidential permit,
passed by a vote of 241 to 175, with 222 Republicans and 19
Democrats voting in favor and 175 Democrats voting against.
Some domestic steel industry
representatives voiced strong support for the vote and the
"This legislation illustrates
the overwhelming support for this project and should be a sign
to President Obama that he must end the gridlock and approve
the pipeline," Thomas J. Gibson, president and chief executive
officer of the American Iron and Steel Institute, said in a
statement. "The production and transmission of energy also
provides key markets for steel products which are vital to the
national economic recovery."
Republicans touted the bill as a
boon for job creation and national security.
"America needs action. America
needs 20,000 jobs. America needs 800,000 barrels a day coming
from Canada. America needs national security that comes from
energy security. America needs the Keystone XL pipeline," Rep.
Pete Olson (R., Texas) said during the debate on the House
Despite the strong support from
some quarters, Obama likely will veto the bill if it passes the
"Because H.R.3 seeks to
circumvent longstanding and proven processes for determining
whether cross-border pipelines are in the national interest by
removing the presidential permitting requirement for the
Keystone XL pipeline project, if presented to the President his
senior advisors would recommend he veto the bill," the Office
of Management and Budget said May 21.
TransCanada initially planned to start Keystone XL construction
in 2010 (
, Sept. 24, 2009).