Obama vetoes contentious oil pipeline bill

2015-02-25 05:41
Barack Obama (AP)

Barack Obama (AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - President Barack Obama on Tuesday, as promised, swiftly vetoed a Republican bill approving the Keystone XL oil pipeline, leaving the long-debated project in limbo for another indefinite period.

The US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, after receiving Obama's veto message, immediately countered by announcing the Republican-led chamber would attempt to override it by 3 March.

That is unlikely. Despite their majority, Republicans are four votes short of being able to overturn Obama's veto.

They have vowed to attach language approving the pipeline to a spending bill or other legislation later in the year that the president would find difficult to veto.

The TransCanada Corp pipeline would carry 830 000 barrels a day of mostly Canadian oil sands crude to Nebraska en route to refineries and ports along the US Gulf. It has been pending for more than six years.

Obama, who rejected the bill hours after it was sent to the White House, said the measure unwisely bypassed a State Department process that will determine whether the project would be beneficial to the United States.

National interest

"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," he wrote in his veto message.

Republicans, who support the project because of its job-creation potential, made passing a bill a top priority after the November election, when they gained control of the US Senate and strengthened their majority in the House of Representatives.

The bill passed by 270-152 in the House earlier this month and cleared the Senate in January.

Obama has played down Keystone XL's ability to create jobs and raised questions about its effects on climate change. Environmentalists, who made up part of the coalition that elected the president in 2008 and 2012, oppose the project because of carbon emissions involved in getting the oil it would carry out of Canadian tar sands.

TransCanada Chief Executive Russ Girling said in a statement the company was "fully committed" to Keystone XL despite Obama's veto and would work with the State Department to answer any questions it has about the project.

Opponents of the pipeline praised Obama's move.

"This veto, along with the president's increasing public skepticism about Keystone XL ... makes us more confident than ever that [the] president will reject the permit itself once and for all," said Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters, another pipeline opponent.

Republicans lambast Obama

"The president's veto of the Keystone jobs bill is a national embarrassment," said Republican House Speaker John Boehner. "The president is just too close to environmental extremists to stand up for America's workers. He's too invested in left-fringe politics to do what presidents are called on to do, and that's put the national interest first."

Obama will make a final decision on the project once the State Department finishes its review, expected in the coming weeks.

But the issue is likely to remain central in Washington's political back-and-forth for some time.

The chairperson of the House Oversight Committee, Jason Chaffetz, sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday asking for all reports and documents received by the State Department from other government agencies about the project, according to an aide.

Read more on:    barack obama  |  us  |  environment

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.