The House of Representatives passed the North American Energy Infrastructure Act Tuesday night, 238-173, with 17 Democrats joining all but one Republican in an attempt to circumvent executive branch authority on oil pipelines like the proposed Keystone XL.
The act sets a 120-day deadline on State Department approvals of fuel pipeline projects that span the Canadian or Mexican border. The bill also asserts that all permits must be approved unless they are not found to be in the “public interest.”
The House legislation applies to new proposals only, and so technically would not include Keystone XL — the proposed tar sands pipeline that would run south from Canada through several northern states to connect with another pipeline already pushing oil toward refineries and export hubs in Texas — or any other pipelines currently under review. But opponents of the bill have argued that nothing would prevent Keystone from resubmitting the XL project again under the new law — and proponents of the act made no secret of their desire to force through approval on KXL.