Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Obama Stands Firm on Keystone XL, Veto Likely if Passed by Congress

Climate

As Republicans have made clear their desire to rush approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and the Senate prepares to vote next week under pressure from pipeline-favoring Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu, President Obama is strongly suggested this morning the legislation won't get past his desk.

Protestors at the White House urge Obama to block KXL and it looks like he might be listening. Photo credit: Tar Sands Action

Traveling to Myanmar following an economic conference in Beijing where he joined with Chinese President Xi Jinping to announce a historic agreement on climate change earlier this week, Obama made one of his strongest statements yet about Keystone XL.

"Understand what this project is: it is providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the Gulf, where it will be sold everywhere else," he said. "It doesn’t have an impact on U.S. gas prices. If my Republican friends really want to focus on what’s good for the American people in terms of job creation and lower energy costs, we should be engaging in a conversation about what are we doing to produce even more homegrown energy? I’m happy to have that conversation.”

The President's press secretary Josh Earnest backed up the President's statement at his own press availability in Myanmar, outright suggesting the President was likely to veto any attempt to push through Keystone XL at this time.

Asked by a reporter if the President would sign the Keystone XL approval should it pass Congress, Earnest said, "The President, as you’ll recall in a speech that he delivered last summer, indicated that one of the factors in that review should be the degree to which a project like this would substantially contribute to the causes of climate change. So this is a project that is still under review by the State Department to determine whether or not it’s in the national interest. One of the things that is impeding the progress of that review is some ongoing litigation in Nebraska about the route of the pipeline. So it's important in the view of this administration that this review be conducted consistent with past practice and in a way that reflects the national interests that are at stake. It is the view of the administration that that process should continue and that that's the proper venue for determining whether the project should move forward. There has been other legislative proposals that have been floated to try to influence the outcome of this decision about the construction of the pipeline.The administration, as you know, has taken a dim view of these kinds of legislative proposals in the past. I think it's fair to say that our dim view of these kinds of proposals has not changed."

When pressed for a definite answer on a potential veto, Earnest said, "It's not a yes or a no because I haven't reviewed the specific proposal. But there have been previous proposals that I expect would be consistent with proposals that have been discussed overnight. And in evaluating those earlier proposals, we have indicated that the President's senior advisors at the White House would recommend that he veto legislation like that. And that does continue to be our position. If that changes, I'll obviously let all of you know. I know there's a lot of interest in this."

Praising the President's words, climate advocacy group 350.org posted a statement encouraging him to stay the course.

"The strategy by some oil-soaked Senators to try and approve the Keystone XL pipeline is already backfiring," it said. "The last time Congress tried to force the President’s hand on KXL, he sent the project back the drawing board because of concerns over the route in Nebraska. The Keystone XL pipeline is all risk and a no reward. We’ve been pushing President Obama for years to make the right call on Keystone XL and it looks like he might be gearing up to do it. We’ll continue to make the case that the real homegrown energy that America needs is 100% clean power, not dirty pipeline projects and other dangerous fossil fuels."

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Senate to Vote on Keystone XL Pipeline

Will GOP Try To Fast-Track Keystone XL Pipeline?

6 Years of Powerful Resistance to Keystone XL

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A protest against the name of the Washington Redskins in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Nov. 2, 2014. Fibonacci Blue / CC BY 2.0

The Washington Redskins will retire their controversial name and logo, the National Football League (NFL) team announced Monday.

Read More Show Less
The survival tools northern fish have used for millennia could be a disadvantage as environmental conditions warm and more fast-paced species move in. Istvan Banyai / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

By Alyssa Murdoch, Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle and Sapna Sharma

Summer has finally arrived in the northern reaches of Canada and Alaska, liberating hundreds of thousands of northern stream fish from their wintering habitats.

Read More Show Less
A mother walks her children through a fountain on a warm summer day on July 12, 2020 in Hoboken, New Jersey. Gary Hershorn / Getty Images

A heat wave that set in over the South and Southwest left much of the U.S. blanketed in record-breaking triple digit temperatures over the weekend. The widespread and intense heat wave will last for weeks, making the magnitude and duration of its heat impressive, according to The Washington Post.

Read More Show Less
If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, don't hit decline — it might be a contact tracer calling to let you know that someone you've been near has tested positive for the coronavirus. blackCAT / Getty Images

By Joni Sweet

If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, don't hit decline — it might be a contact tracer calling to let you know that someone you've been near has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Read More Show Less
Aerial view of burnt areas of the Amazon rainforest, near Porto Velho, Rondonia state, Brazil, on Aug. 24, 2019. CARLOS FABAL / AFP via Getty Images

NASA scientists say that warmer than average surface sea temperatures in the North Atlantic raise the concern for a more active hurricane season, as well as for wildfires in the Amazon thousands of miles away, according to Newsweek.

Read More Show Less
A baby receives limited treatment at a hospital in Yemen on June 27, 2020. Mohammed Hamoud / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Oxfam International warned Thursday that up to 12,000 people could die each day by the end of the year as a result of hunger linked to the coronavirus pandemic—a daily death toll surpassing the daily mortality rate from Covid-19 itself.

Read More Show Less

Trending

The 2006 oil spill was the largest incident in Philippine history and damaged 1,600 acres of mangrove forests. Shubert Ciencia / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Jun N. Aguirre

An oil spill on July 3 threatens a mangrove forest on the Philippine island of Guimaras, an area only just recovering from the country's largest spill in 2006.

Read More Show Less