It has been more than six years in review but now the Keystone XL Pipeline project has taken another step closer to becoming approved setting up a potentially huge showdown between President Barack Obama and Congress.
The Nebraska Supreme Court has ruled that they will allow for the pipeline to cross their state as part of the route which now means that the wrangling moves over to TransCanada Corp’s project fully to Washington, where Republicans now in control of Congress are seeking to force its final approval.
While the Nebraska ruling helped to push the project on further, there has also been another development in favour of the pipeline as the House of Representatives passed a bill 266 to 153, with 28 Democrats in support of the project.
Now the Senate will debate a Keystone, but White House officials said Obama would reject the legislation setting up the battle over the pipeline and placing President Obama at the centre of a political storm.
“If presented to the president, he will veto,” spokesman Eric Schultz said in a statement to Reuters.
According to Reuters, President Obama has criticised the pipeline recently saying it would do little to cut prices for U.S. consumers and that it would mainly benefit the company as the petroleum would eventually be shipped abroad.
Over in Nebraska, the legal question narrowly focused on whether former Governor Dave Heineman had a right to bless the route of the pipeline in his state according to Reuters. The pipeline would carry up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day mostly from Canada’s oil sands to Nebraska, en route to Gulf Coast refineries.
For those in opposition to the building of the pipeline the entire project is seen as a representation of just how dependent the US has become on the use of fossil fuels with many environmentalists citing that the pipeline would simply serve to increase the production of energy in North America at a time when we should be looking to new renewable energy sources for the future and to cut down on carbon emissions.
According to Reuters, President Obama has said he could not endorse a project that meaningfully worsens climate change and the issue could become one of the more controversial of his second term.
But Congress may yet settle the matter if Republicans can surmount an Obama veto or attach a Keystone provision to must-pass legislation, such as a spending bill or a wider energy measure.