President Obama denied the Keystone pipeline’s permitting last week. As promised, the fun has just begun.
On Sunday, House Speaker John Boehner said “all options” are on the table when it comes to a fast-track solution to Keystone permitting. This suggests that the two most popular options – a payroll tax rider and stripping the president of his permitting authority – are both viable options in the coming weeks.
Tomorrow morning, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on the ‘North American Energy Access Act’ by Rep. Lee Terry. The act will strip President Obama’s permitting authority for the pipeline and give it to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the semi-independent agency with jurisdiction over various parts of energy pricing, sale, and permitting.
Some even question if Congress cannot approve the pipeline themselves. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) notes that Congress probably has the Constitutional authority to do just that. As reported by The Hill:
The Jan. 20 CRS legal analysis notes that while the executive branch has historically handled the approval of border-crossing facilities, it doesn’t have to be that way. “[I]f 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 analysis states.
We will wait and see if President Obama addresses his decision in his State of the Union address tonight.