President Barack Obama vetoed a bill approving the Keystone XL oil pipeline, leaving the long-debated project in limbo for another indefinite period.
U.S. 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 March 3.
Despite their majority, Republicans are four votes short of being able to overturn Obama’s veto, according to news reports.
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 U.S. 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.
“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.
Association of Equipment Manufacturers President Dennis Slater said, “I was disappointed – but not surprised – to learn that President Obama has vetoed legislation that would have begun long-overdue construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. By any measure, the Keystone Pipeline is good – good for the economy and good for the equipment manufacturing industry. It’s also the safer option for the environment, compared to alternatives. At this point, Keystone has been relentlessly studied and scrutinized by the government and outside groups. And the evidence is in: Keystone would not pose a meaningful threat to the environment, and it would promise to create thousands of jobs in construction and manufacturing. The alternative to constructing this vital piece of U.S. energy infrastructure is the continued transportation of crude oil by rail. As we’ve seen recently in West Virginia, this is a volatile and potentially hazardous solution that further diminishes our national rail capacity. I urge Congress to redouble its efforts to pursue construction of the Keystone Pipeline and for President Obama to end his obstruction of this commonsense project.”