Backers of the pipeline say that Congress has the authority to effectively deem the pipeline approved without Obama’s action. Previously, they hit dead ends when they pushed measures that tried to force him to make an early decision and that would have required the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to approve it.
Obama told Republican senators earlier this week he planned to make a decision on the revised application by the end of the year, said Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota, a sponsor of the bill’s Senate version, S. 582, which was introduced yesterday.
“When he makes that decision, what’s it going to be, another regulatory hurdle to jump over?” Hoeven said.
The State Department released an environmental assessment report March 1 saying the pipeline would have little impact on the pace of oil-sands development expansion.