Senate Republicans Wednesday introduced a bill that would force President Barack Obama to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline within 60 days.
The North American Energy Security Act, introduced by Senator Richard Lugar, and made available on his website, states the president must approve the bill within the time frame or else consider the proposed pipeline not in the national interest.
The bill also states that if the president deems the pipeline outside the country's national interest, he is to provide a report explaining his decision within 15 days.
The pipeline, proposed by TransCanada Corp in 2008, will carry tar sands oil from Alberta through six states to refineries in Texas, at a total distance of 1,700 miles. President Obama announced earlier in November he will delay any decision on the pipeline until after the 2012 election.
Critics immediately speculated the decision was politically motivated, but environmentalists battling the project hailed the decision as a victory.
It is unclear if the bill is likely to pass the Democratically-controlled Senate, but it is supported by 37 senate Republicans.
According to the proposed bill, reliable trade with Canada complements U.S. domestic energy priorities, and would lessen the country's dependence on foreign oil. The pipeline would also create 20,000 and many more long term jobs.
In a statement published on his website, senator Lugar said the pipeline acts as a dramatic opportunity to create jobs.
The Keystone XL pipeline is the largest infrastructure project ready, now, for construction in the United States, read his statement.
Speaking at a press conference earlier today, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who supports the bill, said he believed the president's decision to delay the pipeline's approval was politically motivated.
If I were speculating about the political calculation, I guess I would conclude that he's looked along the pipeline and concluded he's not likely to carry any of those states, McConnell said, according to his statement made at the press conference.
And so by delaying it, he obviously is making an effort here to curry favor with environmental activists who are skeptical, or beyond skeptical, downright opposed to this project.
White House spokesperson Josh Earnest reiterated the president's decision was not politically motivated, reported Dow Jones Newswires.
Wednesday's bill marks the second time Republicans try to force the Obama administration into a decision regarding the pipeline. House Republicans filed and passed a bill in June that would have forced the president to approve the pipeline by Nov. 1, but Senate Democrats did not approve the bill.
Shawn Howard, TransCanada spokesperon, said he supports any actions that will help expedite the pipeline's approval process, and that the sooner TransCanada can put Americans to work the better.
The actions of these millionaire actors and professional activists to force a delay of Keystone XL hasn't stopped the U.S. from importing millions of barrels a day of higher priced conflict oil - nothing has changed, said Howard.
Calls made to the White House were not returned by press time.