Obama would veto Keystone pipeline approval: White House
Published Tuesday, January 6, 2015 6:47AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 6, 2015 9:23PM EST
U.S. President Barack Obama would veto legislation approving construction of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, the White House said Tuesday.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Obama wouldn’t sign the long-delayed Keystone bill if it passes Congress.
The two main sponsors of the bill, Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, and Sen. John Hoeven, a Republican, said they had enough votes to overcome delay tactics on the bill, but not a presidential veto.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moved to put the bill directly on the Senate calendar and the House is expected to vote and pass the legislation on Friday.
But Earnest said legislation should not undermine the pipeline review process currently underway at the U.S. State Department, or the pending lawsuit in Nebraska over the pipeline route.
In a statement, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office said Ottawa’s position on Keystone “remains the same: we believe the project should be approved.”
The PMO said the pipeline, which would carry bitumen from the Alberta oilsands to refineries in Texas, will create jobs in both countries.
“Right now this is not a debate between Canada and the U.S.; it’s a debate between the president and the American people, who are overwhelmingly supportive of the project,” the PMO said, adding that it won’t comment on the “American political process.”
Greenpeace congratulated Obama for “indicating that he will veto a Keystone bill that would lock Canada and the U.S. into a high-cost, highly polluting energy source for decades to come.”
“With both climate and economic realities telling us that gambling our future on the tarsands is a bad bet, it is time for the Canadian government to finally get serious about diversifying our economy and invest in renewable energy sources that create jobs without sacrificing our planet to do it,” the environmental group said in a statement Tuesday.
Obama has been critical of efforts to fast-track the $5.4-billion pipeline project, saying it would mostly benefit Canadian oil companies, not American consumers.
With files from The Associated Press