The House GOP and a Few Dirty Dems Want to Expedite the Next Keystone XL

Yesterday, the Trump administration outlined how it plans to freeze or withdraw hundreds of Obama-era environmental and public health regulations. In the battle between health and corporate profit, profit will always win for Trump.

The House of Representatives was one step ahead of him, passing two bills on Wednesday that would entrench fossil fuel infrastructure and make the next Keystone XL even easier.

The first bill was the Promoting Cross-Border Energy Infrastructure Act.

This bill would eliminate the requirement that proposed oil and natural gas pipelines and electric transmission line projects that cross the US border with Mexico or Canada obtain a Presidential permit. To obtain such a permit, a project must undergo an environmental review and be determined to be in the national interest. (Think: the process for Keystone XL).

Under this bill, only the part of the project that crosses the international border would be subject to environmental review, and plans to expand or modify existing cross-border pipelines and transmission lines would be exempt. The bill would also allow the Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC) and the Secretary of the Department of Energy to override environmental regulations and approve the permit.

It passed 254 to 175, with 17 Democrats joining Republicans in voting for it.

Here are the 17:

Sanford Bishop (GA-02)

Bob Brady (PA-01)

John Conyers (MI-13)

Lou Correa (CA-46)

Jim Costa (CA-16)

Henry Cuellar (TX-28)

Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15)

Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05)

Gene Green (TX-29)

Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18)

Rick Larsen (WA-02)

Donald Norcross (NJ-01)

Collin Peterson (MN-07)

Cedric Richmond (LA-02)

Kurt Schrader (OR-05)

Marc Veasey (TX-33)

Filemon Vela (TX-34)

The House voted down two Democratic amendments.

Eliot Engel (NY-16) offered an amendment to ensure that permitting authority for cross-border pipelines remains with the Department of State.

It failed 182 to 246, with 2 Republicans voting for it and 12 Democrats voting against it.

The 2 Republicans were Ed Royce (CA-39) and David Reichert (WA-08).

The 12 Democrats were Bob Brady (PA-02), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Lou Correa (CA-46), Jim Costa (CA-16), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Gene Green (TX-29), Collin Peterson (MN-07), Kurt Schrader (OR-05), Marc Veasey (TX-33), and Filemon Vela (TX-34).

And then Niki Tsongas (MA-03), Jim McGovern (MA-02), and Don Beyer (VA-08) offered an amendment to prevent FERC from issuing a certificate of crossing if any part of the oil or natural gas pipeline project is located on lands managed for natural resource conservation or recreation purposes.

It failed 179 to 247, with 13 Democrats voting against it.

The 13 Democrats were Bob Brady (PA-02), Jim Costa (CA-16), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Mike Doyle (PA-14), Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), Gene Green (TX-29), Al Lawson (FL-05), Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Collin Peterson (MN-07), Kurt Schrader (OR-05), Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09), Marc Veasey (TX-33), and Filemon Vela (TX-34).

The second bill was the Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act.

This bill sets statutory deadlines for FERC — and allows FERC to set deadlines for other agencies — in order to expedite the approval of dirty pipelines. It likewise weakens the rights of landowners and tribes and weakens the quality of the environmental reviews required.

It passed 248 to 179. 13 Democrats voted for it, and 1 Republican — Leonard Lance (NJ-07) — voted against it.

The 13 Democrats were Brendan Boyle (PA-13), Bob Brady (PA-02), Lou Correa (CA-46), Jim Costa (CA-16), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), Gene Green (TX-29), Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), Collin Peterson (MN-07), Kurt Schrader (OR-05), Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09), and Filemon Vela (TX-34).

Niki Tsongas (MA-03) offered an amendment to limit the applicability of the bill if any part of the natural gas pipeline project is located on lands managed for natural resource conservation or recreation purposes.

It failed 180 to 249, with 1 Republican voting for it and 13 Democrats voting against it. That sole Republican this time was Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-08). And the Democrats were largely the same — except swapping in Tim Ryan (OH-13) and Marc Veasey (TX-33) for Correa and O’Halleran.

Don Beyer (VA-08) offered an amendment to improve FERC’s public comment and transparency process by requiring a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement if FERC makes substantial changes to the proposed pipeline project.

It failed 192 to 236, with 3 defectors on either side. The 3 Republicans were Andy Harris (MD-01), Bob Goodlatte (VA-06), and Morgan Griffith (VA-09), and the 3 Democrats were Jim Costa (CA-16), Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), and Collin Peterson (MN-07).

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