Congressman Fred Upton said that he is not overly optimistic at the prospects the Keystone XL pipeline expansion finally coming to fruition, during a live chat with MLive readers Friday morning, moderated by Fritz Klug with MLive/Kalamazoo Gazette.
The Republican lawmaker said he doesn't believe that President Barack Obama would approve of any legislation that would allow the project to move any further, despite that fact that the TransCanada Corp., the custodian of the pipeline, complied with the president's demands to reroute the proposed line through Nebraska. Though the state's lawmakers approved of the change after opposing the initial route, the Obama administration is expected to hold its own decision on the expansion until the spring.
Upton, the chair of the House's Energy and Commerce Committee, has been a long time supporter of the Keystone XL project. The congressman said he supports the expansion because he feels it will help the US lessen its dependance on foreign oil, pointing toward fluctuating gas prices as a reason to further invest in domestic sources of energy.
The lawmaker has been an advocate for an all encompassing approach to the nation's energy strategy, supporting both traditional sources such as coal, oil and nuclear energy with alternative means of production, like solar and wind.
The Keystone XL expansion, which would increase the existing Canadian-American oil pipeline to Nebraska, has been a source of controversy since it was first proposed 2008. Although Republican lawmakers have long pushed for approval of the addition, the Obama administration has continually delayed further action, citing the need for additional studies on the impact the pipeline could have on the environment.
In addition to addressing the pipeline and other energy concerns, Upton also fielded questions about same-sex marriage, marijuana legalization and increasing job growth in the district during the one hour chat this morning.