House begins debate on GOP bill to speed approval of Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada

The House has taken up a Republican-sponsored bill that would speed approval of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to Texas.

Supporters say the bill, sponsored by Rep. Lee Terry of Nebraska, is needed to ensure the long-delayed pipeline is built. The project, which first was proposed in 2008, would carry oil extracted from tar sands in western Canada to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast.

Terry called the project "the most studied pipeline in the history of mankind."

The White House says President Barack Obama opposes the bill because it would "circumvent longstanding and proven processes" by removing a requirement for a presidential permit. The legislation also says no new environmental studies are needed.

Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., called the bill a "reckless attempt to avoid environmental review."