Politics and pipelines: House passes bill on gas pipelines, as Senate considers Keystone XL

WASHINGTON – The Republican-controlled House has easily passed a bill designed to expedite the approval of natural gas pipelines.

The House on Wednesday cleared legislation setting a one-year deadline for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to approve new applications to build gas pipelines.

The 253-169 House vote comes as the Senate continues debate on a bill to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The House has already passed a bill to approve that pipeline’s construction.

Republicans say the gas pipeline bill was needed to ensure that the gas being produced gets to market.

Democrats say the bill short-circuits a well-established process. A federal report issued in February 2013 found that on average it took less than a year to a year-and-a-half for pipelines to get approved.