Floor Activities: Keystone

Issues: BP Oil Spill, Climate Change and the Coasts, Gas Prices

H.R. 3 – Northern Route Approval Act (Rep. Terry(R-NB) – Transportation and Infrastructure/Energy and Commerce/Natural Resources) This bill would declare that a presidential permit is not required for TransCanada’s revised proposal for the Keystone XL pipeline — which would allow construction of the pipeline across the U.S.-Canadian border to proceed. The pipeline would transport oil sands crude from Canada and shale oil produced in North Dakota and Montana to a market hub in Nebraska for further delivery to Gulf Coast refineries.

The bill would also grant jurisdiction for legal disputes over the pipeline or the constitutionality of this bill to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia or the Supreme Court. Claims regarding the pipeline must be brought within 60 days of the action that gives rise to the claim.                                                     Watch the House Floor Live

The Democratic staff of the Natural Resources Committee released a report on the tar sands tax loophole, entitled “Tax Free Tar Sands: New tax loophole give tar sands a free ride”. The report is available HERE.

Reps. Markey & Blumenauer Reintroduced Legislation to Close Tar Sands Tax Loophole - the bill would save tax payers nearly $2 Billion 

The Rule makes in order 10 amendments, debatable for 10 minutes, equally divided between the offer or and an opponent. The amendments are:

Rep. Holt Amendment. Requires all oil and refined fuels transported through the Keystone XL Pipeline to be used here in the United States and not exported, unless the President finds that an exception is required by law, international agreement, or the export is in the national interest.

Rep. Weber Amendment. Adds additional findings to the bill drawn from the State Department’s scientific and environmental findings with respect to the project’s impact on air, land, and water resources, global warming, the safety of the pipeline, and the rate of development of the Canadian oil sands.

Rep. Waxman Amendment. Adds a finding to the bill that “the reliance on oil sands crudes for transportation fuels would likely result in an increase in incremental greenhouse gas emissions” in the United States, resulting in additional greenhouse gas emissions equal to 4.3 million passenger vehicles. Also provides that the bill will not go into effect unless the President finds that TransCanada or other oil sands producers will fully offset the additional greenhouse gas emissions.

Rep. Johnson (GA) Amendment. Requires a study on the health impacts of increased air pollution in communities surrounding the refineries that refine crude oil transported by the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

Rep. Connolly Amendment. Requires an assessment of Keystone XL pipeline’s vulnerabilities to terrorist attack and recommendations on the corrective actions that would be necessary to protect the pipeline from such an attack and to mitigate any resulting spill.

Reps. Rahall/DeFazio Amendment. Strikes section 3 of the bill. Section 3 eliminates the current law requirement that a Presidential Permit be issued for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline across the Canadian border. Section 3 further deems the application for the Keystone XL pipeline approved based on a final environmental impact statement issued by the U.S. Department of State for a different pipeline route.

Rep. Esty Amendment. The underlying bill creates a fast-track Clean Water Act wetlands permitting process (90 days or deemed approved) for both the construction and the operation and maintenance of the Keystone XL pipeline in perpetuity.  The amendment strikes the fast-track process for future operation and maintenance activities – but retains the construction permit fast-track.

Rep. Jackson-Lee Amendment. The amendment lengthens the time period for filing a legal claim under the Act from 60 days to 1 year.

Reps. Chu/Polis/Connolly Amendment. The amendment requires GAO to do a report on the Keystone XL pipeline to determine the total projected costs of cleaning up a spill from the pipeline, including the potential impacts of a petroleum spill on public health and the environment and the quantity and quality of water available for agricultural and municipal purposes.

Rep. Cohen Amendment. Requires TransCanada to submit its oil spill response plan, and any updates to the plan, to the Governors of each State in which the Keystone XL pipeline operates. TransCanada is required to develop such a plan under current law and regulations; only certain Federal agencies receive and review the plan.

Rep. Lois Capps Motion to Recommit H.R. 3