Bi-partisan majorities in both houses of Congress approved of legislation which would approve the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline. Multiple reviews of the project by the federal government have found no compelling reasons to block it.
But none of that matters to President Barack Obama who chose to veto the bill today and continue his interminable blockade of much-needed energy infrastructure legislation as North America grapples with a surge in oil production.
Our rail lines over overloaded, which is impact everything from rail safety to access for crop shipments. We need more pipelines. I know North Dakota could sure use the additional 100,000 barrels per day of capacity the Keystone pipeline would provide for the Bakken oil fields. But President Obama has an ideological objection to fossil fuels and he’s chosen to make an example out of the Keystone pipeline.
And he has the authority to do so, I guess. He was elected in 2008, and again in 2012, and elections have consequences.
Obama’s reasoning in vetoing the bill was his claim that it would circumvent the State Department’s process for approval, which is a joke. The State Department has already reviewed the pipeline multiple times. If Obama was allowing the State Department’s review to be completed, Congress wouldn’t have needed to act.
This is a despicable abuse of executive power.
Here’s Rep. Kevin Cramer’s statement on the veto (Cramer introduced the House version of the Keystone legislation):
“I am disappointed the President did not take this opportunity to stand with the overwhelming majority of the American people and their elected representatives in the House and Senate in approving this vital piece of energy infrastructure. However, this is not the end of the road. I will continue working with my colleagues, both Democratic and Republican, in the House and Senate to build an even stronger coalition of support for this project and the benefits it would provide.”
Here is Senator John Hoeven’s statement (Hoeven introduced the Senate version of the Keystone legislation):
“The president’s veto of our Keystone XL pipeline approval legislation is not surprising, but it is unfortunate as his veto stands in contradiction to the will of the American people. This bill has passed both chambers of Congress and the American public has expressed its support for the project in poll after poll. Every state along the pipeline’s route has approved the project, and a series of environmental reviews completed over the course of six years have all concluded that the project will have no significant environmental impact. Yet, the president vetoed the bill because it ‘cut short’ his review process, which has already gone more than six years.
“The president’s veto is bad news for Americans and good news for OPEC. We are in a competition with OPEC for global market share and energy leadership. Whenever the president makes it harder to produce and transport energy here at home and work with our close ally Canada, he makes it easier for OPEC to keep us dependent on their oil.
“The Keystone XL pipeline is about energy, jobs, economic growth and national security through energy security. That is why we will continue working to approve this important infrastructure project. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to try and gain the support necessary to override the veto. Another option is to attach this legislation to other energy, infrastructure or appropriations legislation that the President won’t want to veto. The will of the American people and Congress is clear.”