By a 252-161 vote, the Republican-controlled U.S. House approved legislation to advance the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline project, which is widely opposed by environmentalists.
The measure to approve the pipeline cleared the House with support from 221 Republicans and 31 Democrats. The Senate is expected to vote on a similar measure on Tuesday. Proponents of the long-discussed pipeline, which would carry tar sands oil from Canada through the United States to the Gulf Coast of Texas, claim 59 senators are on board with the legislation, the New York Times reports. The measure would require 60 votes to pass in the Senate.
President Barack Obama has indicated that he would likely veto the measure if it is sent to his desk.
Last week, Obama said he wants to let the project's review "process play out."
"And I'm just going to gather up the facts," the president added.
U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL,11) voted against the measure, though he said he is "not opposed, in principle, to the building of the Keystone XL pipeline" and looks "forward to the completion of the ordinary regulatory approval process for this project."
"However, I voted against this legislation because it would give the Keystone XL pipeline an unnecessary exemption from the environmental permitting processes, at a time when even the pipeline route is uncertain," the congressman explained.
Foster did vote for a bill amendment, which failed to pass, that would have required "the project to pay into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, a fund which is used to clean up after pipeline oil spills and fires on U.S. soil," according to a release from the congressman's office.