The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled on Jan. 9 in favor of the pipeline route to say yes. That same day, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 266-153 to say yes. Finally, on Jan. 29, the U.S. Senate voted 62-36 to say yes. But a White House statement in early January indicates President Barack Obama will say no.
Hello, goodbye, Keystone XL.
Of course, Obama isn’t the only roadblock. A group opposing TransCanada’s long-delayed pipeline project reignited the fight in Nebraska, filing new lawsuits challenging the law used to route the pipeline through the state. Just a week after the state’s high court threw out the case against the project, seven property owners filed the lawsuits that could take another two years to resolve.
Obama had previously said he would wait until the legal situation in Nebraska was settled before making a decision about the project.
Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department has been reviewing the pipeline for more than six years and is supposed to be deciding whether the 1,179-mile pipeline project to carry oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico is in the national interest. The Republican-led Congress’ actions are aimed at short-circuiting that years-long process to grant the Keystone XL pipeline a permit immediately.
The Senate’s approval of the project garnered applause from TransCanada officials and industry leaders. TransCanada president and CEO Russ Girling said he was encouraged by the strong bipartisan support for Keystone XL, noting that the House and Senate have each passed 10 votes over the years in favor of the pipeline.
“This latest vote mirrors the strong will of the American public, who have consistently supported Keystone XL in a series of 30 public opinion polls over the past three years,” Girling added.
The Association of Oil Pipe Lines (AOPL) lauded the Senate’s approval of the project, which the association says will provide American workers with good-paying jobs, consumers with access to lower-priced energy, communities with safer energy transportation, the environment with cleaner energy transportation and the country with more energy from a stable and secure partner.
“Today’s Senate approval reflects continued strong public support for the Keystone XL pipeline,” said AOPL president and CEO Andy Black, after the vote was cast.
With both houses of Congress passing laws in favor of the project, the decision now rests on the president’s pen.
Most industry insiders and politicians believe a veto is coming. If that happens, will this be the end of the road for the Keystone XL? GOP leaders have promised to fight tooth and nail to get the project approved. TransCanada has shown no signs of giving up. But how much farther down the road can we kick the can?