President Obama Threatens To Veto Congress’ Keystone XL Pipeline Bill

by: Obert Madondo  | Jan 6, 2015

NO Keystone XL Pipeline. (Photo: tarsandsaction.org)

NO Keystone XL Pipeline. (Photo: tarsandsaction.org)

U.S. President Barack Obama has nuked Canadian tar sands proponents’ hope that the Republican-dominated U.S. Congress would force the approval of their coveted Keystone XL pipeline project.

Obama has threatened to veto a Congressional bill that would force the approval of Keystone, the Associated Press reports.

“I can confirm for you that if this bill passes this Congress, the president wouldn’t sign it,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Tuesday.

The announcement is yet another strong White House rebuttal of efforts by U.S Republican politicians to push for the pipeline’s approval. Following their victory in the November 4 congressional elections, the U.S. House of Representatives held a vote that failed to pass by just one vote.

“We indicated that the president would veto similar legislation considered by the previous Congress, and our position on this hasn’t changed,” Earnest said.

During an appearance on the Colbert Report in December, Obama against suggested that Keystone was doomed:

“We’ve got to make sure that it’s not adding to the problem of carbon and climate change,” Obama said.

If approved, the 1,900km pipeline would ship 830,000 barrels of carbon-intensive tar sands oil from Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast every day. According to Environment Defence, one of Canada’s leading environmental actions organizations, Keystone XL is a “gateway to tar sands expansion” and, if built, “tar sands pollution will soar.”

The Keystone XL has become the flagship issue for leading climate activists in both Canada and the U.S.

Environmental groups applauded Obama’s decision.

“This is a tribute to the millions of people who have made this one of the center pieces of a fast growing climate movement,” Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org, said in a statement. “So far their desire to protect the land and climate have been a match for the fountains of dirty money that constitute the oil industry’s only real argument.”

“It’s becoming more clear by the day that President Obama rightly recognizes this dirty and dangerous tar sands pipeline is a bad deal for our country,” Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said in a statement.

Brune added: “Meanwhile, the Congressional Republicans who are preparing to use their very first vote to push the agenda of the oil and gas executives who helped elect them are wasting everyone’s time yet again. The decision to approve or deny Keystone XL has always belonged to the President alone, and he has now made it clear that he’ll reject attacks on that authority. President Obama has also said he’d oppose the tar sands pipeline if it contributes to the climate crisis. He has all the evidence he needs to know that it does and reject Keystone XL. Sierra Club activists around the country are ready to applaud and support him when he does.”

In her new bestselling book “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate,” Canadian journalist and bestselling author Naomi Klein, made this call: Radical change is needed to prevent catastrophic global warming.

In a recent interview with DemocracyNow!, Klein expressed concern about the “capture” of American politicians by Big Oil.

“Keystone is a pipeline that’s intimately linked to plans by the oil and gas industry to dramatically expand production in the Alberta tar sands,” said Klein.

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Obert Madondo

Publisher and editor
Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based blogger, activist, photographer, digital rights enthusiast, former political aide, and former international development administrator. He's the founder and editor of these independent publications: The Canadian Progressive, a political blog dedicated to progressive Canadian journalism; The Zimbabwean Progressive, a political blog dedicated to producing fearless, progressive, adversarial, unapologetic, and activism-oriented Zimbabwean journalism; and Charity Files, a publication dedicated to journalism in the charitable public's interest. Follow Obert on Twitter: @Obiemad
  • nat

    why is a bill necessary at all if no taxpayer money is being used, no right of eminent domain is being granted, and in no way is the federal government supporting the private company? I would think this could just be a case of the private company buying up or leasing the properties and constructing the pipeline, as long as no environmental or endangered species laws are violated. There must be something i am missing about this if all this time and money is being spent by big business to have this bill at all. If this bill was never introduced, couldn’t the xl company still construct the pipeline as a private venture? What is it that the bill grants to the company?

  • Obama could leave a Progressive legacy!