Politics
6:00 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Isakson, Chambliss Sign On to Keystone Pipeline Bill Bypassing Obama

A Senate bill to bypass the White House and approve construction of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline could soon come up for a vote, and both of Georgia’s Republican Senators have signed on.

The bill would give project backer TransCanada permission to build and operate the more than 2,000 mile pipeline.

Georgia Republican U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss are cosponsors, along with the other 43 Senate Republicans and 11 Democrats. The number is just shy of the 60 votes needed to avoid procedural hurdles that could defeat the bill.

“What it does is acknowledge what the State Department, every state in the United States through which the pipeline would travel, and the overwhelming American public, labor unions and everybody else wants, and that’s to build the Keystone XL Pipeline,” Isakson said.

Final approval is in the hands of the U.S. State Department.

The Obama administration has delayed a decision on the pipeline indefinitely – citing a recent Nebraska Supreme Court decision that invalidated the planned route through the state.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said last week the administration’s position hasn’t changed.

Isakson said Congress would be able to bypass the White House and the President’s signature because it deems all previous approvals regarding the pipeline to be law.

“We’re abridging the president’s right to stop this,” he said.

Critics say the pipeline would increase the risk of oil spills, produce greenhouse gas emissions from the extraction of oil sands and disturb environmentally sensitive land.

Sen. Chambliss was not available for an interview.