WASHINGTON — House Republicans will huddle next week to discuss strategy for pushing the Obama administration to get moving on the Keystone XL pipeline, Rep. Lee Terry said Friday.
“There's no reason to delay,” the Omaha Republican told The World-Herald. “All the information is there.”
An Obama administration official indicated Friday that no decision will be made on the pipeline until at least June.
Pipeline supporters such as Terry have been chafing at delays in the administration's consideration of the project, which has been under review for 4½ years.
“This is just a transparent attempt to avoid making a decision,” Terry said.
He said legislation has been drafted that would directly approve the pipeline, although he is working with some Democrats to nail down the exact language. Terry has tried this approach previously only to see bills die in the Senate. It remains to be seen whether this bid will have more success.
The pipeline would transport 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada's oil sands to refineries in Texas. The State Department, now run by former Sen. John Kerry, is responsible for reviewing the project because it crosses an international border.
Terry said pipeline backers had been planning to introduce legislation in a few weeks, but the latest news of a decision not coming until summer could move up that timeline, he said.
“I'm becoming more frustrated with these tactics,” he said.
The pipeline long ago became a political football between environmental groups, which say it would increase greenhouse gas emissions, and project supporters, who say it would provide jobs and increase North American energy independence.
The anti-pipeline group Bold Nebraska plans to bus 100 people to Washington for a Feb. 17 rally aimed at halting the project.
“We need President Obama to know how many of us stand with him to reject TransCanada's Keystone XL permit for their dangerous export pipeline,” the group's executive director, Jane Kleeb, wrote online.
This report contains material from Reuters.
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