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Saturday, June 22, 2024
HomeNewsPoliticsHouse Approves Keystone XL Pipeline, With 28 Democrats Joining GOP Ranks

House Approves Keystone XL Pipeline, With 28 Democrats Joining GOP Ranks

boehner suing obama
boehner suing obama

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), left, and President Obama, right.

The Republican-dominated House approved a bill Friday authorizing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, just hours after Nebraska’s highest court tossed out President Obama’s last excuse not to approve the $7 billion cross-continental project.

The House easily approved the bill 266-153, with 28 Democrats joining the largest Republican majority since the 1920s. The Senate is set to consider the legislation next week and is expected to finish taking up the bipartisan bill by the end of the month, leading to an inevitable tango with Obama, who has threatened to veto it. The bill’s sponsors say it has more than enough bipartisan support to pass.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz said following the ruling that the State Department would review it, though a prior review concluded the environmental impact of not building the pipeline would be worse than if the energy resources were transported via the pipeline. Yet, Schultz said that despite of the Nebraska ruling, the House legislation steps on the president’s power “and prevents the thorough consideration of complex issues that could bear on U.S. national interests.”

“If presented to the president, he will veto the bill,” Schultz added.

Republican congressional leaders fired back immediately after the administration’s statement, accusing the White House of pandering to the radical left environmentalist movement, rather than listening to the will of the American people.

According to a new PPD Poll of 694 registered voters, 72 percent support its construction of the Keystone pipeline, including a majority of Democrats (53 percent), over two-thirds of independents (68 percent) and nearly 9 in 10 Republicans (88 percent).

“President Obama is out of excuses for deciding whether or not to allow thousands of Americans to get back to work,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said in a statement, joining the speaker in a public urging for Obama to reverse his veto threat in light of the court decision.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) made the same appeal, saying “a presidential veto would put [Obama’s] own political interests ahead of the needs and priorities of the American people.”

In a 4 – 3 decision, the state Supreme Court ruled Friday that the three landowners failed to show they had legal standing to bring their case, upholding a 2012 state law that allowed the governor to empower Calgary-based TransCanada to force eastern Nebraska landowners to sell their property for the project.

“The legislation must stand by default,” the court said in the opinion.

The1,179-mile pipeline, which would carry more than 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day from Canada to refineries along the Gulf Coast, was first proposed in 2008. But, after various environmental concerns being shot down by State Department reviews, President Obama has long-cited the Nebraska court case as the last reason for waiting before approving the project.

The exact economic benefit of the project has been debated, thoroughly. A study conducted in June, 2014, found that a 485-mile stretch of the Keystone XL pipeline has been a huge economic boon for some two dozen poor Oklahoma and Texas counties, injecting $3.6 billion into the Texas economy and $2.1 billion into the Oklahoma economy. According to the study, the project is responsible for creating thousands of jobs, both directly and indirectly, and increased tax revenues for state governments.

“The president has been hiding behind the Nebraska court case to block this critical jobs project. With that contrived roadblock cleared, the White House is now out of excuses, and out of time,” House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) said.

It remains unclear whether the Senate will pull together enough votes to override a presidential veto, but Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi claimed after the vote that her caucus could sustain the numbers in the House to preserve it.

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman initially opposed the original route that crossed the environmentally sensitive Sandhills region, but he approved the project in 2012 after the company rerouted the pipeline’s path to avoid the Sandhills. Gov. Heineman also cited that the proposal was reviewed by the Department of Environmental Quality, which is part of his administration, as well as the federal State Department.

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Latest comments

  • So what if some Dems change their vote because they want to be
    reelected! Obama is doing the right thing protecting the Environment!
    And this is what we his supporters want him to do. Veto the pipeline
    Mr. President!

  • This really about raising gas prices in the Midwest, which is why the usual players (Koch) are pushing congress so hard for this and why its the Republicans number 1 priority. Next up. Tell us why exporting US oil will be good for America.

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