Lee, R-Utah, amendment no. 71 to the Murkowski substitute amendment no. 2. The Lee amendment would overhaul the process for issuing drilling permits. It would require the Interior secretary to provide a decision on whether to issue permits within 30 days after receiving applications, unless the applicant is given specific written notice of an extension. Applications would be considered approved if a decision or extension has not been made within 60 days, unless existing environmental reviews are incomplete. After 180 days, the application would be considered to have no significant impact on the environment and not likely to jeopardize endangered or threatened species. If a permit is denied, the amendment would require the Interior Department to provide specific reasons for denial and allow applicants to resubmit applications within 10 days. Permit denials would not be subject to judicial review. The substitute amendment would immediately allow TransCanada to construct, connect, operate and maintain the pipeline and cross-border facilities known as the Keystone XL pipeline.
Note: By unanimous consent, the Senate agreed to raise the majority requirement for adoption of the Lee amendment to 60 votes.