UPDATE: Rep. Ted Poe, R-Humble, has introduced his bill with Rep. Dan Boren, a conservative Democrat from Oklahoma, as a lead cosponsor.
“It is the moral obligation and legal authority of Congress to say yes,” Poe said in a statement. “Congress cannot sit idly by and watch Americans suffer as a result of this reckless decision motivated by politics. It’s time to create jobs, bring energy to the United States and make Middle Eastern politics irrelevant to our national security.”
A Texas Republican lawmaker will introduce legislation Tuesday that would immediately approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, overcoming the Obama administration’s denial of a permit last week.
Rep. Ted Poe, R-Humble, will dub his bill the Keystone for a Secure Tomorrow Act of 2012, or K-FAST. TransCanada Corp.’s pipeline would carry tar-sands crude from Alberta, Canada, to refineries in Houston and Port Arthur, the latter of which is in Poe’s district.
His proposal would add to others that Republicans have considered since the Obama administration denied a permit. The State Department said a congressionally imposed decision deadline — which Republicans included in a deal to extend the payroll tax cut last month — wouldn’t provide enough time to assess alternative routes avoiding a Nebraska drinking-water aquifer.
Irate with the move and calling it an election-year political tactic, Republicans vowed not to let Keystone XL go away, while environmentalist opponents praised the president for standing up to the oil industry.
A separate proposal from Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., would put Keystone XL permitting authority in the hands of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, an independent agency, and require it to approve the pipeline within 30 days. The body also would have 30 days to approve Nebraska’s alternate route after the state picks it.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee will debate Terry’s proposal on Wednesday, when Assistant Secretary of State Kerri-Ann Jones, who served as the point person on Keystone XL, will testify to explain the decision against a permit.
Additionally a proposal from Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., would let Congress approve the Keystone XL pipeline.
The GOP proposals would struggle to make it through both chambers of Congress by themselves. But Republicans haven’t ruled out trying to use Keystone XL legislation as leverage in any bill that extends the payroll tax break through the end of year. The Hill newspaper also reported that Terry said the GOP could try tying Keystone provisions to a bill that funds infrastructure projects.
President Obama has said TransCanada is welcome to reapply. The company says it plans to do that, and hopes its application can be approved in time for it to stay on track for a late 2014 start-up date.
Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Dallas
Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La.
Rep. Pete Olson, R-Sugar Land
Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston
Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi
Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La.
Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Coppell
This post was last updated at 12:35 p.m.