US House approves Keystone pipeline bill

Supporters of the bill say that the pipeline would reduce U.S. dependence on oil imports from the Middle East.

US House approves Keystone pipeline bill

World Bulletin/News Desk

The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Friday to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

The bill passed by 252 votes to 161.  The Senate will meet on Tuesday to vote on the bill.

The bill received votes from 221 Republicans and 31 Democrats. 

U.S. President Barack Obama, who has the right to veto the bill, said that he will not make a final decision before the legislative process is completed.   

Republican John Boehner, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, urged Obama to listen to Americans who supported the Republicans in the congressional elections. 

"The President does not have other elections to win, nor excuses to postpone the bill," Boehner said.

Due to political and environmental concerns, the Obama administration has postponed the approval of the controversial pipeline, which would carry crude oil from Canadian tar sands to the U.S., for six years.

"The Obama administration has been quite slow about the pipeline on environmental grounds," said Andrew Holland, an energy expert at the Washington-based American Security Project.

"If there will be action on the Keystone XL pipeline quickly, a lot of bottlenecks in oil transport will be resolved," he added. 

The Keystone pipeline would run from Alberta, Canada, through the U.S. states of Nebraska and Oklahoma to reach refineries on Gulf coast in Texas when construction is finished.

If completed, the northern extenstion of the pipeline, Keystone XL, would provide additional capacity of 500,000 barrels per day to transport crude oil from Alberta, Canada to Steele City, Nebraska.

This would bring the total capacity of the pipeline to more than 1 million barrels a day.

The total investment would be $12.2 billion for a pipeline that would be 2,150 miles (3,460 kilometers) long. 

"This pipeline proposal is in the national interest of the U.S.," said Ed Hirs, an energy economist at the University of Houston.

"The merits of bringing that oil from Canada to U.S. refineries far exceeds the merits of continuing to import the same grade of crude oil from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries," he explained. 

While U.S. crude oil imports from the cartel have decreased to 1.2 billion barrels per year from 1.9 billion per year from 2008 to 2013, imports from Canada increased from 715 million barrels to 941 million barrels per year for the same period, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Hirs stated that importing the Canadian heavy type of crude oil would also decrease the U.S. dependency on Middle East oil sellers. 

"Bringing oil from Canada to U.S. refineries is a win for the U.S., which will be closer to the source of supply," Hirs said.

"The impact of any future interruptions would be limited by obtaining that crude from Canada instead of from the cartel," he added. 

Although the Republicans gained control of the Senate with the congressional elections on Nov.4, they have to wait until January to take over the Upper House. 

Last Mod: 15 Kasım 2014, 23:47
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