By TENNILLE TRACY
Republicans are tightening the screws on President Barack Obama
to make a decision on the controversial oil pipeline known as
After passing legislation that forces the president to decide
the fate of the pipeline within 60 days, House Republicans
unveiled a "Keystone XL clock" Wednesday that - tick-tock,
tick-tock - counts the seconds since the president signed the
bill into law.
Wednesday morning, the clock flashed 12 days, 10 hours, 47
minutes and 27 ... 28 ... 29 seconds.
The clock, posted on the website of the House Energy &
Commerce Committee, marks the latest effort by Republicans to
pressure the president into approving the 1,700-mile oil
pipeline, which would stretch from Canada to Texas and carry
hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil every day.
TransCanada Corp., the company that wants to build the
pipeline, applied for a permit in 2008. The State Department
reviewed the project to determine whether it
serves the national interest and pledged to make a decision on
the project by the end of 2011.
But the president announced in November that his
administration needed more time to consider alternative routes
and delayed a decision until after the presidential
The project has been opposed by environmental groups and citizen
activists. The battle to defeat the pipeline culminated in a
protest at the White House that attracted thousands of
Republicans accuse the president of succumbing to pressure from
this wing of his supporters, and of playing politics with a project that they say will create
"After waiting more than three years for this pipeline while
the country faces prolonged unemployment, the American people
are fed up with the president's inaction on a project that can
quickly create jobs," said Rep. Fred Upton (R., Mich.), chair
of the House Energy & Commerce Committee.
Some Democrats, however, say Republicans have been exaggerating
the number of jobs that will be created as a result of the
They accuse GOP members of being a mouthpiece for
TransCanada and the influential lobby groups that represent the
The 60-day clock started late last year, after Republicans
fought and won a heated battle to include a deadline in a
separate bill that extended payroll tax cuts.
Dow Jones Newswires