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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Congress Has Constitutional Grounds To Require Keystone Pipeline Approval

By Susan Duclos

Last week it was reported that a House proposal could bypass Barack Obama's politically calculated rejection of the Keystone pipeline and The Hill reports that according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service if "Congress chose to assert its authority in the area of border crossing facilities, this would likely be considered within its Constitutionally enumerated authority to regulate foreign commerce."

The four CRS attorneys write that their review “suggests that legislation related to cross-border facility permitting is unlikely to raise significant constitutional questions, despite the fact that such permits have traditionally been handled by the executive branch alone pursuant to its constitutional ‘foreign affairs’ authority.”

A House Energy and Commerce Committee panel will hold a hearing next Wednesday on Rep. Lee Terry’s (R-Neb.) bill that takes review of the pipeline away from the State Department and instead requires the independent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to issue a permit.

Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), who is planning a separate bill to put approval in the hands of Congress, requested the study.

“I think this confirms what we have been saying all along – Congress has the authority under the Constitution to approve the Keystone pipeline,” said Ryan Bernstein, Hoeven’s deputy chief of staff and legal counsel.

“It gives great weight to not only our bill but any bill Congress considers,” he added.

The Keystone pipeline has bipartisan support and after Obama's decision to reject it, many Democrats publicly came out and harshly criticized Obama over the decision.

(Statements from Democratic Senators and Representatives with links to those statements can be found HERE.)

This move on the part of Republicans will force Barack Obama to publicly defend his rejection and explain why the thousands upon thousands of jobs associated with the Keystone pipeline could go to China instead of America as well as the potential to rely more on a friendly nation for our energy supplies rather than the unfriendly nations in the Middle East.

(Cartoon credit- Chip Bok, via Townhall)