The U.S. Senate’s attempt to override President Barack Obama’s veto of legislation that would have forced the Keystone XL pipeline through fell short by five votes on Wednesday, though Republicans did not back down from their support.
Proponents needed 67 votes to override the President’s veto of what has been termed the Keystone XL Pipeline Act. The bill aimed to push through the $8 billion, 1,700-mile-long pipeline from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast by circumventing the State Department approval process that is necessary for the portion that would cross Canada's border with the U.S. And preservation of that process was Obama’s reason for vetoing the bill, he said.
Republicans said they would continue to fight for it.
“We will continue working on this important infrastructure project,” said Senator John Hoeven, Republican of North Dakota, a leading sponsor of the Keystone measure, to The New York Times. “Another option is to attach this legislation to other energy, infrastructure or appropriations legislation that the president won’t want to veto. The will of the American people and Congress is clear.”
Republicans had already threatened to do this on Keystone XL, as they did when they attached an amendment to the must-pass National Defense Authorization Bill that gave Resolution Copper control over large tracts of Apache sacred land for mining.
Environmental groups voiced approval and urged Obama to seal the deal with an outright rejection, especially given the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recent pronouncement that mining the Alberta oil sands for oil to be sent through the Keystone XL pipeline would significantly add to the carbon emissions that are primarily responsible for global warming.
“This dirty tar sands oil pipeline is simply not in America's national interest, and this new Congress should stop wasting its time and start acting in our national interest,” said Danielle Droitsch, Canada Project director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, in a statement.