Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline Bill

2/24/15
 
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from New York Times,
2/24/15:

President Obama on Tuesday vetoed a bill to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, rejecting an effort by Republicans and some Democrats to force his administration to let the highly contested energy project move forward.

By saying no to the legislation, Mr. Obama retains the authority to make a final judgment on the pipeline on his own timeline. The White House has said the president would decide whether to allow the pipeline when all of the environmental and regulatory reviews are complete.

But the veto — his first rejection of major legislation as president — is also a demonstration of political strength directed at Republicans who now control both chambers of Congress. Mr. Obama is signaling that he will fight back against their agenda.

The Obama administration must decide whether to approve infrastructure projects like the Keystone pipeline, which cross a border with another country.

In his veto message to Congress, delivered with no fanfare on Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Obama wrote that the legislation “attempts to circumvent longstanding and proven processes for determining whether or not building and operating a cross-border pipeline serves the national interest.”

Mr. Obama added that “because this act of Congress conflicts with established executive branch procedures and cuts short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest — including our security, safety, and environment — it has earned my veto.”

Environmental groups hailed the president’s veto. Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club, praised Mr. Obama for keeping his word on vetoing the legislation and urged the president to reject the pipeline.

“The president has all the evidence he needs to reject Keystone XL now, and we are confident that he will,” Mr. Brune said.

Republicans denounced the veto, saying Mr. Obama gave in to the his environmental supporters. Republicans also said it would cost Americans much-needed jobs.

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