White House Issues Veto Threat Over Keystone Pipeline

No-KXL-Pipeline-protest1WASHINGTON — The White House issued a veto threat Tuesday for pending legislation intended to force federal approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.

“The fact is this piece of legislation is not altogether different than legislation that was introduced in the last Congress,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest Tuesday afternoon, referring to a bill that was defeated in November. “And you would recall that we put out a Statement of Administration position indicating that the president would have vetoed [it], had that bill passed the previous Congress.”

“I can confirm for you that if this bill passes this Congress, the president wouldn’t sign it either,” Earnest continued.

Earnest’s remarks came at a press conference shortly after Sens. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) introduced legislation that would force federal approval of the pipeline. The bill, the first of the new Senate, has 60 co-sponsors, including six Democrats. The House is slated to vote Friday on its own bill to approve the proposed pipeline.

Earnest’s comments appeared to be aimed at this specific “piece of legislation,” rather than at the idea of the pipeline itself. The phrasing suggests that the White House could endorse the measure if some of the amendments that have been proposed by Senate Democrats are attached.

But the White House has repeatedly balked at legislation that would force approval before the federal review process is complete.

“There is already a well-established process in place to consider whether or not infrastructure projects like this are in the best interest of the country,” Earnest said Tuesday.

The administration is awaiting a decision from the Nebraska state Supreme Court on the validity of the pipeline’s proposed route through the state. “Once that is resolved,” said Earnest, “that should speed the completion of the evaluation of that project.”

At the American Petroleum Institute’s annual energy outlook event Tuesday afternoon, CEO Jack Gerard said he was “disappointed” by the White House veto threat.

“I believe it doesn’t bode well for relationships between the White House and Capitol Hill,” said Gerard. “[The pipeline] has broad, bipartisan support.”

UPDATE, 2:15 p.m. — Later in the briefing, Earnest erased any lingering doubts from those reading his words literally. Though he had said the president would not sign a bill authorizing Keystone, he wasn’t implying that he would let that legislation dangle indefinitely in the legal ether. He was, indeed, saying that the president would veto the measure.

As for the principle reason for the veto, Earnest said it was more about the procedural elements than the policy ones, though the White House objected to both.

“The concern that we have right now is principally on the idea that this piece of legislation would undermine what has traditionally been, and is, a well-established administrative process to determine whether or not this project is in the national interest,” he said. “The fact is, a complete evaluation of that project can’t be completed until this legal dispute about the route of the pipeline has been settled and we know what the final route of the pipeline actually looks like.”

The administration, he said, was withholding “broader judgment on the project itself,” although he added that “you can note our skepticism about some of the claims made by the most enthusiastic advocates of the pipeline.”

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About steve@bayintegratedmarketing.com

Steve Ulrich is a principal at Bay Integrated Marketing: www.bayintegratedmarketing.com. I have been working with people to maximize their use of social media and internet publishing, optimize their websites to turn prospects into customers, and establish their personal brand on the internet. We are also working with Eco Distribution, Inc. to find and implement practical solutions to help clean up our air and the environment. Eco Distribution, Inc. is a California based Distributor and Representative Firm dealing in environmentally friendly and Green solutions. We have leveraged 30 years experience in responsible construction management to provide solutions for some of the most impactful challenges facing our air, water, and land. We have an oil/hydrocarbon remediation system that is effective on everything from simple oil stains on a driveway, to complex oil disasters in the ocean. My approach to social media and internet marketing is simple. Instead of spending a fortune “buying” keywords and ads that don’t return anything we concentrate on three areas: I CAN GET YOU FOUND ON LINKEDIN - NUMBER ONE, PAGE ONE.
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