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 January 30, 2012
GOP aims to force Obama into Keystone decision all over again

 History has a habit of repeating itself, and as a result President Obama is unlikely to be surprised if he is forced to make yet another controversial decision on the future of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline in the next few months.

Republican House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner yesterday provided fresh details on how the GOP aims to keep the debate on the future of the $7bn pipeline a live election-year issue, despite the President's decision earlier this month to reject the plans.

Speaking on ABC's This Week news programme, Boehner said the GOP leadership is likely to attach approval for the controversial pipeline to a new highway bill that is scheduled to go before Congress in the next few months.

"If (Keystone) is not enacted before we take up the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act, it will be part of it," he said.

He also failed to rule out attaching conditions on Keystone to an upcoming must-pass bill that will extend middle-class tax breaks.

In other congressional news, Democrat chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Jeff Bingaman has confirmed he is working on a bill that would enact a new Clean Energy Standard, largely in line with the proposals set out in President Obama's State of the Union address.

The administration has publicly backed rules that would require 80 per cent of US energy to be sourced from clean sources, including nuclear and natural gas, by 2035, although the proposals have repeatedly stalled in Congress.

Bingaman told the E2Wire blog that he planned to move forward with new proposals in the next few weeks, although he acknowledged that it will be difficult to secure the Republican support necessary to pass any bill.