President Barack Obama rejected a bill Tuesday that would have approved construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, the first veto of a year that seems likely to feature repeated such moves as the Democratic president confronts the Republican-led Congress.
The veto came as no surprise to GOP lawmakers, who passed the measure in early February. The decision to reject the bill came within hours of its formal delivery to the White House on Tuesday.
Republican congressional leaders are expected to schedule a vote in coming days in an attempt to override the veto, but that effort is almost certain to fail. The bill passed both houses of Congress with less than the two-thirds vote needed for an override.Before Congress passed the bill, Obama had promised to reject it, saying that it improperly infringed on his executive powers by moving the process of reviewing the pipeline from the administration to Congress.
Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency reported to the State Department that the pipeline would add as much carbon dioxide to the air each year as 6 million passenger vehicles.
Obama has said previously that the project would only promote the U.S. national interest if it didn’t significantly worsen carbon emissions, the leading cause of global warming.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the EPA assessment doesn’t necessarily decide the question. The EPA study is part of the State Department’s review, he said, and no conclusion has been made yet about whether the proposed pipeline would significantly worsen carbon emissions.
The president’s decision to veto the Keystone bill, Earnest said, was based not on the merits of the project but rather on his concern about respecting the process of review.
Source: Tribune News Service
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