Senate Republicans have introduced an amendment to a federal transportation bill that would speed the construction and operation of the controversial Keystone oil pipeline between Canada and the United States. Within hours, environmentalists generated hundreds of thousands of e-mails against the amendment.
The measure, sponsored by GOP Senators John Hoeven of North Dakota, Richard Lugar of Indiana and David Vitter of Louisiana, would eliminate the need for TransCanada to obtain a federal permit to cross the U.S.-Canada border, while allowing Nebraska unlimited time to develop an alternative route through its territory.
The Keystone XL pipeline would transport heavy crude from Canada’s oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries. Proponents say it will create jobs and provide the United States with a reliable energy supply. Opponents argue that the energy-intensive extraction of crude in Canada will accelerate climate change, and they worry that a spill could jeopardize sensitive habitat.