As the new Congress comes to session, one of the first items on the agenda is the Keystone XL Pipeline
Obama Veto to Follow Passage: White House
Incoming Energy and Commerce Committee member Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) has authored legislation to authorize construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline that will go before the U.S. House of Representatives Friday for a vote. This vote will be the tenth time legislation has come before the House regarding the construction of Keystone.
Most recently, legislation to authorize the construction of the pipeline passed the House by a vote of 252-161, but failed to pass in the Senate by one vote. The Senate, which became majority Republican after the 2014 midterms, is expected to begin consideration of a similar bill on Wednesday with a hearing in the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, reports The Wall Street Journal.
In an interview Monday, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), predicted that President Obama wouldn’t veto the legislation should it pass both chambers of Congress, as it is expected to do, according to the Wall Street Journal.
President Obama initially said that his main concern with passing legislation authorizing the pipeline was whether or not it would adversely affect the environment. Even though the State Department released its final statement saying the cumulative effects of the project would be negligible, and both the House and Senate are likely to pass the legislation, it seems likely that the president will veto the bill.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said that he thought that Mr. Obama would veto it and that the Senate would not have the 67 votes needed to override his decision. Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) also said this afternoon that the administration is doing the right thing by vetoing, reports the Denver Post.
The White House press secretary Josh Earnest confirmed that President Obama would veto a pro-Keystone XL measure. In a press conference earlier today, Earnest said, “I can confirm for you that if this bill passes this Congress, the president wouldn’t sign it either.” Earnest said the White House was worried Congress was trying to circumvent the State Department while the department waited for the decision regarding a lawsuit over the pipeline in Nebraska.
The U.S. portion of the pipeline is expected to be a 1,084 mile long, 30-inch diameter pipeline with a capacity from 435 MBOPD to 591 MBOPD, according to TransCanada (ticker: TRP).
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