JUNE 11, 2013 UPDATE: The House passed the bill 241 to 175 and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Senate will hold a vote.
The Northern Route Approval Act¬†has successfully passed through three House committees, the most recent being the Transportation Committee with a 33-24 vote, and will be moving to the full House this Wednesday.
TransCanada Corp. applied for a Presidential Permit to build the Keystone Pipeline, which would carry tar sands oil from Canada to Gulf Cost of Texas refineries, in September of 2008, and then again, after rerouting the prospective pipeline, in May of 2011. President Obama remained conveniently indecisive on whether or not to go forward with building during the 2012 election season, and has delayed his conclusion on the pipeline to review its route. It has been predicted that his awaited decision will be pushed back yet again to later this year or even to 2014.
The Act, however, will eliminate this problem and expedite the entire process by allowing TransCanada Corp. to build without the cross-border permit it would normally require from the President.
While some argue that the pipeline is not only harmful to the environment but its 830,000 barrels a day would also serve to make our country more oil dependent, others argue that the promise of economic benefits such as energy security and job creations largely outweigh the possible costs.
Building Keystone, the bill argues, will also help solidify secure international relations. ‚??The delivery of oil from Canada, a close ally not only in proximity but in shared values and ideals, to domestic markets is in the national interest because of the need to lessen dependence upon insecure foreign sources.‚?Ě
Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman approved the Keystone project, as it was rerouted to avoid the vulnerable Sandhills regions of Nebraska. The Sandhills lie above the Ogallala Aquifer- which means that mere inches below its grounds lay a vast, yet shallow water table. This water table is one of the world‚??s largest aquifers and spans subtly under eight states.
The bill also addresses concerns over Nebraska‚??s tiny American Burying Beetle, saying that the requirements of section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 have been met and assuring that the ‚??pipeline project will not jeopardize the continued existence of the American burying beetle or destroy or adversely modify American burying beetle critical habitat.‚?Ě
While the bill is expected to pass in the House, it will most likely die by either the Senate or a swift Presidential veto.
Caroline Mahony is an editorial intern with Human Events.