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Senator Lugar is proposing a legislative end-around to quickly approve the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, effectively taking President Obama out of the decision-making process.
As the pipeline proposal has progressed, it first became the under purview of the US State Department because of crossing the Canadian/United States border.
President Obama has recently said that he would make the final decision, sometime after next year's election.
In addition, Obama has said that he wants to consider alternate routes that would take into consideration impact on aquifers and other natural resources along the proposed route. Such rerouting could require further environmental impact statements, and which could therefore delay or kill the project.
However, Lugar's proposed bill would remove Obama from the decision process, and require immediate approval of the project.
So, first question that comes to mind: Even if this passes the Senate and then the House, would Obama sign a law like this that would gut his own powers? That's hard to believe.
The bill would require the Administration to rubber stamp the project in 60 days with no further review along a route that hasn’t even been determined yet. There isn’t even agreement on how significant the reroute will be – this bill would force the President to approve a route sight unseen.
“I will vigorously oppose any efforts by Republicans in Congress to legislate a rubber-stamp approval for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. At a time when the State Department inspector general is conducting a special inquiry into possible conflicts of interest related to the State Department’s handling of this project, it is completely inappropriate to try to short-circuit the thorough environmental review process federal law requires.”
The NRDC release notes that the proposal is not likely to get through the Senate.