The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill to approve the long-pending Keystone XL pipeline and send the bill to President Barack Obama, who has vowed to veto it.
The Republican-controlled House voted 270-150 to approve construction of the $8-billion project, backed by Calgary-based TransCanada Corp.
The pipeline, which would carry Alberta oilsands bitumen and light oil from the U.S. Midwest to the Gulf Coast for refining, has been waiting seven years for approval.
Neither the House, nor the Senate, which approved the bill last month, has the two-thirds majority required to override a presidential veto.
That sets up a confrontation with Obama, who has said he would strike down the pipeline bill because he retains the authority to make the final decision about the pipeline. Obama has said his decision would take into account climate change concerns, but is waiting for final reviews.
The Republican Party has said Keystone is a priority because of its potential to create American jobs and boost energy security.
But the bill has been opposed by environmentalists who fear oil spills and argue that tapping into the oilsands will boost global warming.
Keystone XL would connect with TransCanada's existing Keystone network, which today delivers crude to the U.S. Midwest and Gulf Coast. It would provide a more direct route to the Gulf by cutting diagonally from the Saskatchewan-Montana border to Steele City, Neb.
In a news statement Wednesday afternoon, Alberta Premier Jim Prentice said the approval "reflected the will of the American people" and expressed hope that Obama would eventually approve the pipeline.
The project is "in the best interest of both the U.S. and Canada,'' Prentice said.
"We must continue to build the necessary infrastructure to allow for the open flow of energy between our countries as we continue to strive toward our shared goals of prosperity, security and environmentally responsible resource development," he said.