The House of Representatives is set to vote today on H.R. 3 – the Northern Route Approval Act – which would eliminate the need for a presidential permit in implementing the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.
While the bill directly empowers Congress to approve the Keystone XL instead of allowing the decision to rest with President Obama, it is viewed more as a tool to force the Obama administration to act than it is as a measure unto itself. Realistically, H.R. 3 is destined to fail. While it could pass in the Republican-held House of Representatives, it then must both pass the Democratic-held Senate as well as be approved by President Obama, who has explicitly promised to veto any such act.
Irrespective of a final result, the impending vote on H.R. 3 has brought renewed attention to the Keystone XL project. The House Rules Committee has scheduled 90 minutes for debate on the bill, and given the controversial subject matter itself as well as the inclusion of ten new amendments that cover a host of divisive propositions (from requiring a presidential waiver in order to export fuel to requiring a studies and publications of the higher carbon footprints associated with tar sands), a smooth passage is anything but certain.
For more information on H.R. 3, click here.
(Updates will be published as they arise)