Obama vetos approval of Keystone XL pipeline
United States President Barrack Hussein Obama has vetoed approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, keeping his promise to deny the project backed by Republicans as jobs measure but opposed by often controversial environmentalists who claim oil and gas consumption contributes to global warming.
"The presidential power to veto legislation is one I take seriously," Obama said in a statement to the Senate. The veto was the 3rd of his term, but will probably continues as he tries to subdue the Republican majority during the last 2 years of his presidency. The White House has already threatened 13 more veto threats.
It appears there are not enough votes to override Barack's veto. The bill passed the House 270-152 and the Senate 62-36, margins deficient of the 2/3 majorities needed to override. Regardless Senate leader Mitch McConnell schedueld a veto override vote by March 3.
The 1,179 mile pipeline would connect tar sands crude oil in Alberta Canada with an existing pipeline in Nebraska, allowing energy company TransCanada to pump 830,000 barrels a day to refineries in the Midwest and the Gulf Coast. The expected new jobs the pipeline would have created is estimated to be in the thousands.
The vote came down mostly along party lines, but also divided key Democratic congressional constituencies. Terry O'Sullivan, general president of the Laborers' International Union of North America, called the veto "disgustingly predictable."
Environmentalists celebrated with victory. "The pen was mightier than the pipeline," said Anna Aurilio of Environment America.
The Democrat party claims the environmental impacts of the pipeline project outweigh any economic benefits.
Under an executive order signed by President George W. Bush, the State Department is reviewing the proposal to determine whether it's in the national interest, although Obama can ultimately override the State Department's recommendation.
TransCanada first applied for permits to build the pipeline in 2008, and there's no indication of when the review will be finished. "It's an ongoing process that doesn't have a deadline," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said this month. The company said in a statement it remains committed to the project and is working with the State Department to resolve environmental concerns.
Also, congressional Republicans have said they could attach a Keystone provision to future bills, in an effort to reach some kind of compromise that could either earn the president's signature or get enough votes to override his veto.
"The allure of appeasing environmental extremists may be too powerful for the president to ignore," wrote McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner in an op-ed in USA TODAY. "But the president is sadly mistaken if he thinks vetoing this bill will end this fight. Far from it. We are just getting started."
To save this article or read as a PDF Click Here