House passes GOP bill to speed pipeline approval

WASHINGTON (AP) - House Republicans have pushed through legislation to bypass the president to speed approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to Texas.  The bill was approved 241-175 largely along party lines. It's unlikely to be taken up by the Democratic-controlled Senate.  Democrats criticized the legislation as a blatant attempt to allow a foreign company to avoid environmental review. Republicans say the measure is needed to ensure that the pipeline first proposed in 2008 is built.  The measure would deem the project approved without a presidential permit, as required under current law, and with no further environmental review. It also would limit legal challenges to the project.  President Barack Obama has twice thwarted the pipeline project amid concerns about a proposed route through environmentally sensitive land in Nebraska. The White House approved a southern portion of the project from Oklahoma to Texas.