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Republican lawmakers vow to approve Keystone XL Pipeline






Tribal activists staged a protest against the Keystone XL Pipeline during President Barack Obama's visit to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota in June. Photo from Aldo Seoane on Twitter

With Republicans poised to take control of Congress, one big issue is on their agenda: approval of the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline.

Republicans could insert approval of the pipeline in a must-pass appropriations bill this year. Or they could create a stand-alone measure after they gain control of the Senate next year.

President Barack Obama has delayed a decision on the pipeline, which would run through eight states, including Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska and Oklahoma. He has faced intense pressure from tribes, environmental groups and many Democrats to reject it

"The process is moving forward," Obama said at a press conference last week after the election. "And I’m just going to gather up the facts."

The New York Times, however, said Obama might not be opposed to a Keystone approval bill, citing "people familiar with the president's thinking." He appears to be waiting for a decision from the Nebraska Supreme Court that affects the route of the pipeline in that state.

“I think there is probably a deal to be had on Keystone,” David Goldwyn, a former State Department official under Obama, told the paper. “If Republicans attach Keystone to a budget bill, I don’t think he’s so principally opposed to it that he would veto it.”

Tribes in the U.S. and Canada are fighting the project due to concerns about treaty rights, sacred sites and the environment. Landowners and ranchers along the route, mainly in Nebraska and South Dakota, are also opposed to the pipeline.

Get the Story:
Republicans Vow to Fight E.P.A. and Approve Keystone Pipeline (The New York Times 11/11)