Republicans push seemingly immortal Keystone bill right back to Obama – State Column
Republican senators pushed for legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline that would import oil from Canada, but the White House promptly responded with threats of a veto.
Republicans assumed full control of Congress on Tuesday after victories in the November elections and have subsequently bumped Keystone to the forefront of their agenda.
Republican senators believe that bringing Keystone to the public eye will pressure President Barack Obama to further consider and ultimately approve the project.
The White House, however, was adamant that Obama would not sign the Keystone bill.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest questioned whether or not Keystone is in the best interest of the country and said that implementing the project would require a long process.
“There is already a well-established process in place to consider whether or not infrastructure projects like this are in the best interest of the country,” Earnest said.
Senator John Hoeven, a Republican from North Dakota, introduced a bill to approve TransCanada Corp’s project that would transport more than 800,000 barrels per day of mostly Canadian heavy oil to Nebraska en route to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Obama, who despite considering the pipeline for six years, has opposed previous Keystone bills, and called for the State Department to complete its approval process.
Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers predicted that 63 senators would back the pipeline, enough to pass the bill. However, if the legislature were to be vetoed by the White House, 67 senators would be needed to overcome it.
“We may not have enough to overcome a veto, so it may be a two-step process,” Hoeven said.
Democrats have divided on Keystone with environmentalists, who warn that oil sand mining will raise emissions linked to climate change, pitted against union supporters, who claim that it will boost construction jobs and energy security.