Louisiana Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu. Image courtesy of Senator Mary Landrieu.

Both houses of Congress are gearing up to vote on two bills that would approve the $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline.

Votes on the bills may start as soon as this week and could end TransCanada’s six year battle to win approval for the pipeline.

The House could vote as soon as Thursday with a possible Senate vote next Tuesday, Reuters said.

The bills could land on President Obama’s desk for approval next week.

However, even if the president rejects the bill Congress could still override his veto with enough support.

Politicians from both sides of the aisle are expected to support the bills.

Keystone XL needs presidential approval because it crosses international borders.

“It is time for America to become energy independent and that is impossible without the Keystone pipeline and other pipelines like it,” Louisiana Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu said.

Landrieu, chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, introduced the Senate version of the bill along with North Dakota’s Republican Senator John Hoeven on May 1.

TransCanada said last week that regulatory delays have spiked costs for its Keystone XL crude pipeline up to $8.4 billion, up from previous estimates of $5.4 billion.

The pipeline has been waiting for U.S regulator approval since 2009 and has faced vocal opposition from environmentalist groups.

Calgary-based TransCanada must also win approval from the Nebraska State Supreme Court and the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission.

Earlier this year the U.S. State Department released a key assessment of the pipeline that concluded the project would have a limited environmental impact.

The State Department said that if the pipeline is not built producers would use more dangerous transportation methods to move product such as rail or tankers.

The Keystone XL pipeline would stretch 1,179-mile from Hardisty, Alberta to to Steele City, Nebraska located just north of the Cushing oil hub.

The U.S. leg of the pipeline would run 875 miles from Morgan, Montana to Steele City.

Along with transporting crude oil from Canada, the Keystone XL Pipeline would also grant American oil producers more access to refining markets in the Midwest and the U.S. Gulf Coast.


Leave a Reply