Saturday, January 10, 2015

US House approves Keystone XL pipeline (266 votes to 153)

The Republican-controlled House approved the Keystone XL oil pipeline easily on Friday, ignoring the recent veto threat against this project from US President Obama.

The House passed the project by 266 votes to 153, the tenth time that the chamber has passed the pro-Keystone legislation. The Senate is set to consider the legislation next week.

Just hours before the House's vote, Nebraska's Supreme Court overturned a lower court decision to greenlight the construction of the project, ruling out one of the arguments that the White House can block the project.

The White House spokesman Eric Schultz said in a statement that the administration would incorporate the court's decision into its evaluation of Keystone.

"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 said in a statement referring to the court decision.

But Schultz also reiterated the president's veto threat saying the House bill still conflicts with longstanding presidential authority and the review process of complex issues bearing national interests.

"If presented to the president, he will veto the bill," said Schultz.

The 7-billion-US dollar project is proposed to go from Canada through the US State of Montana and South Dakota to Nebraska, where it would connect with existing pipelines to carry more than 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day to refineries along the US Gulf Coast.

The project has been delayed for years as critics say it could worsen climate change by enabling further growth from the oil sands, which create higher greenhouse gas emissions than some other forms of production.

But Republicans insist that it will create jobs and enhance US energy security and Mitch McConnell has said the first bill that the Republican-led Senate will bring to President Obama's desk is the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.

The White House said on Tuesday that President Obama would not sign the legislation approving the Keystone XL pipeline project before the State Department finishes its review process even if the Congress passed the controversial legislation.

Analysts said at present Republicans still do not have a veto- proof majority to pass the bill.

 Source:Xinhua -

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