The bill, the latest effort by lawmakers to
breathe life into the long-delayed pipeline from Canada to the
U.S. Gulf Coast, will languish without a commitment from Senate
Majority Leader Harry Reid to bring it to a vote.
The measure, from Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana
and Republican Senators John Hoeven of North Dakota and Lisa
Murkowski of Alaska, would take a decision on approving the
pipeline away from the Obama administration.
Republican Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming termed Wednesday's
vote "a cheerleading exercise" but still voted in favor of the
bill, part of a 12-10 majority on the panel.
Another measure from Hoeven to approve the pipeline has 55
cosponsors but has not been put to a vote in the 100-member
Senate. Support is just short of the level that would be needed
to overcome an expected veto from President Barack Obama.
"The obstacle to getting Keystone built is not the Energy
Committee, it's the Senate Majority Leader," Barrasso said of
Reid, a Democrat from Nevada. "The Senate Majority Leader could
have scheduled a vote at any time in the past seven weeks."
Last month, Senate Republicans blocked a bipartisan
energy-efficiency bill backed by manufacturers and
environmentalists, and by doing so forfeited a chance to vote on
the long-delayed pipeline.
Reid at the time had offered a vote on Hoeven's Keystone bill if
Republicans allowed passage of the energy bill.
TransCanada has waited more than five years a decision on the
$5.4 billion project, which would carry up to 830,000 barrels
per day of crude from the oil sands of northern Alberta to
refiners in Texas.
(Reporting by Ros Krasny; Editing by Susan Heavey)
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