Skip to main content

White House says Obama will veto the new Keystone XL bill if it passes congress

White House says Obama will veto the new Keystone XL bill if it passes congress

Share this story

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Republicans are trying to push a bill in the House and in the Senate that would fast-track the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline — a 1,179-mile pipeline that would traverse the US and Canada, carrying about 830,000 barrels of oil each day — and it looks like they might succeed. But the White House revealed for the first time today that the president will veto the bill if it goes through. "If this bill passes this Congress," Press Secretary Josh Earnest said earlier today, "the president wouldn't sign it either."

"If this bill passes this Congress, the president wouldn't sign it either."

Another Keystone bill failed in the Senate at the end of 2014. But this time, the Republicans have more seats, and it looks like the bill might get through. It was introduced with 60 co-sponsors today — 54 Republicans and six Democrats, reports Newsweek. That number means that the bill is filibuster-proof, and according to Bloomberg Businessweek, an additional three senators plan to vote in favor of the bill. Unfortunately for the bill's supporters, 63 votes isn't quite high enough to protect the bill from a presidential veto, reports Newsweek. It would take another four votes — bringing the total to 67 — to make the bill veto-proof.

The plan for the pipeline is controversial, and many environmental groups in Canada and the US have taken part in protests denouncing the damage the pipeline could cause if an accident were to occur. Scientists have also spoken out against the project. In April 2013, for instance, NASA climate scientist James Hansen questioned the wisdom of the pipeline project in the Los Angeles Times. "Just last week, a Canadian train slid off the tracks in Minnesota, spewing as much as 30,000 gallons of Canadian crude on US soil. A few days later, a pipeline carrying crude from Canada leaked 'a few thousand' barrels in Arkansas," he wrote. Hansen also opposes the pipeline because transporting crude oil from the Alberta tar sands would be a particularly carbon intensive form of oil production. "Is this in the national interest?" he wrote.

"Is this in the national interest?"

For the NASA climate scientist, rejecting the pipeline would show the world that the US is serious and determined to be on the right side of history. And allowing it to go forward, he said, would signal that the US is "too entrenched with business-as-usual to do what's right by the people, planet, and future generations."