Republicans’ plan could bypass Obama for Keystone XL approval

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton said he hopes to take the decision about the Keystone XL pipeline out of President Barack Obama’s hands, and the pipeline could be attached again to the payroll tax holiday extension.

Upton vowed Friday to continue to press for the permit approval after Obama formally rejected the pipeline’s permit earlier this week, and it would continue to be a centerpiece during the 2012 election cycle, POLITICO reported.

The Energy and Commerce chairman admitted it wouldn’t be simple to attached the pipeline to the new tax holiday extension because of other priorities. However, Republicans were also working to find a way to bypass the president’s approval for the pipeline.

“What other pipelines does the president or the State Department have a say in, they don’t,” Upton told POLITICO in a brief interview. “It’s a private pipeline. As long as it meets all the criteria — we’ll take that away.”

At least one plan, dubbed the Terry plan, would do just that.

According to legislation filed by Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, an independent agency, would get the final say on the Keystone XL decision.

The agency would be required to approve or reject the pipeline within 30 days. Terry argues that FERC understands pipelines better.