CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- New Hampshire U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter has introduced an amendment separating approval of the Keystone pipeline project from authorization of pipeline activity between Portland, Maine and Montreal, Canada.
The amendment introduced Tuesday protects environmental interests from being affected by pending legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta across six U.S. states to the Texas Gulf Coast. The Obama administration is considering whether to approve the pipeline.
There has been concern that an oil-carrying pipeline from Maine to Montreal could have its flow reversed and carry Canadian tar sands oil through Vermont, New Hampshire and western Maine. Critics say tar sands oil poses greater environmental and safety risks than conventional crude, but oil industry representatives disagree.
"Regardless of how one views the Keystone XL pipeline, my amendment simply clarifies that the expedited process made available for Keystone will not be used to short-circuit any environmental review for possible changes to the Portland to Montreal pipeline," Shea-Porter said.
The amendment was co-sponsored by U.S. Reps. Annie Kuster of New Hampshire Chellie Pingree of Maine.
In April, Shea-Porter joined members of Congress in sending a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry requesting a thorough investigation before allowing implementation of any proposal for existing New Hampshire pipelines to reverse their flow and transport oil sands products.