White House Says It Will Veto Bill to Approve Oil Pipeline

The White House on Tuesday threatened to veto the first piece of legislation introduced in the Republican-controlled Senate, a bill approving the much-delayed Canada-US Keystone XL oil pipeline, in what was expected to be the first of many confrontations over energy and environmental policy.

Hours after supporters of the bipartisan bill, which is sponsored by all 54 Senate Republicans and six Democrats, announced its introduction, the White House said for the first time that President Barack Obama would veto it.

"If this bill passes this Congress, the president wouldn't sign" it, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Tuesday, saying legislation shouldn't undermine the review process underway at the State Department or circumvent a pending lawsuit in the state of  Nebraska over its route.

The project would move tar sands oil from Canada 1,179 miles 1,900 kilometers) south to Gulf of Mexico  Coast refineries. Supporters say it would create jobs and ease American dependence on Middle East oil. A government environmental impact statement also predicted that a pipeline would result in less damage to the climate than moving the same oil by rail.

The head of the American Petroleum Institute, Jack Gerrard, said Tuesday after his annual speech on the state of U.S. energy that the president had failed to make a simple decision that would put people to work, but he predicted the pipeline would eventually be approved.

The bill is identical to one that failed to pass the Senate by a single vote in November, when Democrats were in control and Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana pushed for a vote to save her Senate seat. She lost to Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy, who sponsored the successful House bill approving the pipeline.

(www.downstreamtoday.com  Edited by Topco)