Good news for the environment: President Obama’s veto on the Keystone XL pipeline bill will likely stand, with the Senate being about four votes shy of being able to override his decision. Senator John Hoeven said on Fox News Sunday that the bill he sponsored, allowing the project to “move forward out of the hands of the State Department,” will not continue.
President Obama said that he vetoed the bill not because he necessarily disagrees with the project but because he objects to the way Congress tried to move on the project by bypassing the Executive Branch. Press secretary Josh Earnest said last week that “the President has been pretty clear that he does not think that circumventing a well-established process for evaluating these projects is the right thing for Congress to do.”
All 54 Republicans are expected to vote for the override, as are nine Democrats, but that will not give the Senate the two-thirds majority required to kill the veto. “Right now we’ve got about 63 [votes],” Hoeven said. “But we’re going to the floor with an open amendment process, trying to foster more bipartisanship … so that we can pass this measure and other measures and either override the veto or attach the bill to other legislation that will get 67 votes.” Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware said that was unlikely.
The Senate approved legislation moving the 1,179 mile pipeline that runs from Canada to Texas, but because it crosses an international border, the State Department must also approve. The pipeline is said to create 42,000 jobs during constructions but opponents to the measure are quick to note that the pipeline will only require 50 permanent positions once it’s going.
Opponents of the pipeline also assert that the pipeline will add the equivelent of nearly 51 new coal plants to the planet, dramatically increasing the impact of climate change.