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House bill to build stalled Keystone pipeline advances

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Fed up with delays by the White House, House Republicans on Thursday passed a bill out of committee that would take the decision on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline out of President Obama’s hands.

“This project has been studied more than any other project of its kind,” said House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, Pennsylvania Republican. “Today the committee voted to move forward with more jobs and more energy for Americans.”

All Republicans voted “yes,” on the measure. Two Democrats also supported it, evidence of the growing bipartisan coalition that backs the massive Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline that is staunchly opposed by leading environmentalist groups.

Thursday’s bill would remove the requirement that the administration sign off on Keystone, the normal protocol for a project that crosses an international boundary.

But the measure faces an uphill battle in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Should it pass the Senate, it certainly would be vetoed by Mr. Obama.

Dissenting Democrats said the measure sets a bad precedent and emboldens those who oppose the pipeline.

“This bill is a bridge way too far,” said Rep. Timothy Walz, Minnesota Democrat. “Those who support this project — don’t make this a political statement that dies here.”

Mr. Obama reportedly will make a decision on Keystone by late summer or fall, but he’s pushed off that decision multiple times already.

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