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Guinta, Kuster vote in favor of energy bill

The U.S. House on Thursday passed the first major energy legislation in nearly a decade, approving a bill that would, among other things, speed up natural gas exports and hasten the approval of natural gas pipelines.

Both of New Hampshire’s representatives in Congress — Republican Frank Guinta and Democrat Annie Kuster — are on record as voting in favor of the bill.

Opponents of the Northeast Energy Direct gas pipeline questioned the support for the bill by lawmakers who announced their opposition to the Kinder Morgan project on the same day they voted for the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act.

But Kuster said on Monday that her vote was a mistake, and that she had intended to vote “no” on the bill. She produced a copy of a statement for the Congressional record submitted immediately following the vote on Dec. 3.

In related news, House backs sweeping energy bill to boost oil, natural gas.

“Congresswoman Kuster believes the NED pipeline is a bad deal for New Hampshire and does not believe the project serves the best interests of Granite Staters. That’s one of the many reasons she strongly opposes the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act,” said her chief of staff, Abby Curran Horrell.

Guinta confirmed his vote for the law, and said he sees no conflict with his opposition to the NED project.

“I support domestic energy expansion to wean ourselves off foreign oil and lower fuel costs here at home, while putting the proper protections in place for Granite Staters,” he said. “We still have many unanswered questions about how the Kinder Morgan pipeline would affect Merrimack and Londonderry.”

The bill, approved 249-174 in the House, ends a 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports, restricts the government’s ability to limit natural gas exports and hastens approval of natural gas pipelines across public lands.

President Obama has said he will veto the bill, which faces an uphill battle in the Senate.

dsolomon@unionleader.com

This article was written by Dave Solomon from The New Hampshire Union Leader, Manchester and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.