Keystone XL bill gets 44 U.S. senators on board
* Congress would approve Keystone under the Senate plan
* One Democratic senator on board; unclear how bill to move
By Roberta Rampton
WASHINGTON, Jan 30 (Reuters) - A group of 44 U.S. senators, all but one Republican, have signed on to proposed legislation that would authorize the Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL oil pipeline despite the refusal of President Barack Obama to advance the project.
Republican Senator John Hoeven is set to introduce the bill on Monday that, if passed into law, would allow work to begin immediately on all but the sensitive Nebraska portion of TransCanada's $7 billion controversial project.
It's not yet clear how the bill will advance in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia was the lone Democrat to sign on as a co-sponsor of the bill, but other Democratic senators have in the past expressed support for the project.
Obama put the pipeline on the backburner earlier in January, saying the administration needed more time to review the environmental impact in Nebraska, where the state government is evaluating a new route after rejecting an initial plan that sent the line through a sensitive aquifer region.
The bill, led by Hoeven, Richard Lugar and David Vitter, incorporates an environmental review done by the U.S. State Department, and allows Nebraska time to find a new route.
"It will create thousands of jobs, help control fuel prices at the pump and reduce our reliance on Middle East oil," Hoeven said in a statement. Continued...