Yesterday, in its latest exercise in wasting time, the Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives voted on H.R. 3, the “Northern Route Approval Act.” H.R. 3’s primary stated purpose is to “approve the construction, operation, and maintenance of the Keystone XL pipeline.” The bill, which likely will not pass the Senate and which President Obama has vowed to veto on separation-of-powers grounds, would eliminate the need for Presidential permitting of the Keystone XL project, but only the Keystone XL project.
The bill passed the House by a vote of 241 to 175. 222 Republicans voted in favor, joined by 19 Democrats. One Republican, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, voted “present,” explaining his vote later in this tweet:
Keystone bill violated Rule of Law by exempting one entity from laws every similar entity must follow. I favor general dereg, not privilege.
(Amash later tweeted: “I support Keystone project moving forward…”)
The entire New England House delegation (except Ed Markey, who was campaigning in West Roxbury and did not vote) voted against the bill. Notably, that included Steve Lynch, who has supported Keystone XL in the past and whose Senate campaign re-iterated that support before hedging in early April.
My question is this: with the Senate primary now behind us, what does it mean? Is Rep. Lynch simply against changing the process (i.e. keep the Presidential permitting system intact), or has he reconsidered his position on the Keystone XL project itself? Rep. Lynch’s Congressional website does not mention support of Keystone XL on its “Energy/Environment” page, and the people in his office weren’t able to tell me.