A hearing on US Rep. Lee Terry’s (R-Neb.) bill to congressionally authorize construction of the final portion of the proposed Keystone XL crude oil pipeline revealed how wide the gap has grown between the viewpoints of the project’s proponents and opponents.
Proponents reiterated that US failure to authorize construction would force Alberta oil sands producers to pursue other export routes. Opponents maintained that oil sands development economics have grown so expensive that the permit’s denial would significantly slow down—and possibly even halt—further oil sands development there.
A senior US House Energy and Commerce Committee member also warned that congressional approval of HR 3 could result in legal challenges that would delay the project’s construction longer than letting the US Department of State’s review of Keystone XL’s revised application proceed.
“This bill would circumvent the established process and open the projects to a plethora of lawsuits,” warned US Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.). “Instead of legislative approval where it’s not needed, this committee should be focusing on steps to make certain this project moves forward without creating more opportunities for litigation.”
Terry said his bill is definitely necessary. “Not until Congress became involved 2 years ago did the administration even begin to move on this,” he said in his opening remarks at the Apr. 10 hearing by the committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee. “Here we are, April 2013, still mired in the process. My bill would put an end to that.”I'm starting to lose the bubble on this. Too many chefs getting into the soup. Some argue that the bill is not even necessary; just let the SecState / Presidential process run its course.