The End of the Keystone XL Pipeline Saga?

Within hours of receiving the bipartisan bill on Tuesday to authorize the Keystone XL pipeline, President Obama made good on his promise to veto it. The legislation would have short-circuited the approval process, which upset the president.

2 minute read

February 25, 2015, 11:00 AM PST

By Irvin Dawid

"Republicans held back the Keystone bill until Tuesday (February 24) to prevent Obama from rejecting it while they were away from Washington on recess, and they will now attempt to override the veto with votes in the House and Senate," writes Laura Barron-Lopez, energy and environment reporter for The Hill.

Through this bill the United States Congress attempts to circumvent longstanding and proven processes for determining whether or not building and operating a cross-border pipeline serves the national interest,” Obama said in his veto statement. [READ OBAMA'S VETO STATEMENT.]

The numbers don't look good for an override. In the Senate, they appear to be four votes short of the 67 needed, according to Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.). Hoeven writes that the bill passed on a 270 to 152 vote in the House, twenty short of the 290 needed to override a presidential veto.

The veto applies only to the legislation, not the pipeline itself. President Obama is awaiting a recommendation from Secretary of State John Kerry who "is reviewing the final comments submitted by agencies on whether the pipeline is in the nation’s best interest," writes Barron-Lopez. "He is expected to send his recommendation on the project to the president soon."

As noted here earlier, the Keystone XL pipeline "would move as many as 830,000 barrels of oil a day, mostly from Canada’s oil sands to Steele City, Neb., where it would connect with existing pipelines to Gulf Coast refineries," wrote energy policy reporter Amy Harder of The Wall Street Journal.

Barron-Lopez goes on to write about the political ramifications of the veto and the inter-play between the Republican majority Congress and President Obama. The veto is only the president's third since he took office in 2009, but she writes that more are likely.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 in The Hill

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