Republicans introduce bill to force Keystone decision

Pressure on President Barack Obama has increased once again, with congressional Republicans putting forward a bill designed to force him to rule on the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline, according to The Washington Post.

The pipeline was nearing approval earlier this year before an outcry from environmental groups around the country that eventually led the pipeline's owner, TransCanada, to agree to consider a new route.

The primary concern of environmentalists is the proposal's plan to direct the pipeline through the Nebraska Sandhills, an ecologically sensitive area that also lies near important regional water sources.

However, Republicans have charged that Obama's decision to delay a ruling on the pipeline until 2013 was motivated by concerns about the upcoming 2012 election. In turn, Republican Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has introduced a bill requiring the president to either approve or deny the oil pipeline within 60 days of passage.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that, despite divided interests among Democrats between environmentalists and unionized labor, the bill remains unlikely to pass, but will bring substantial pressure on the administration.

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