Obama threatens to veto bill mandating Keystone XL

Obama threatens to veto bill mandating Keystone XL

Republican-controlled House of Representatives is expected to vote on the measure this week.


With the State Department review process of the Keystone XL pipeline once again delayed (this time, while courts review routing legislation in Nebraska), pipeline supporters in Congress have been working on legislation to force approval. The House Energy and Commerce committee has crafted legislation that would require approval of border-crossing pipelines (and electric transmission facilities) within 120 days of completion of environmental review, unless the State Department finds them to be contrary to the national interest. (The bill does not mention Keystone XL specifically.)

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives is expected to vote on the measure this week. (While popular in the House, support for a legislative approval of Keystone XL in the U.S. Senate has fallen a few votes short of the 60 votes needed. I wrote about that legislative effort here.) In late 2011, after a dispute over the pipeline route through Nebraska had caused delays to the permit process, congressional Republicans did manage to pass a 60-day deadline for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. (President Barack Obama had threatened to veto that legislation, too, however, it was attached to the renewal of a payroll tax cut that was set to expire and the President signed the bill rather than preside over a sudden tax increase.) However, at that time, the State Department said it could not complete its environmental reviews (required by federal law) in time to comply with the deadline. As a result, it denied the initial permit for the pipeline, but invited TransCanada to apply anew. The company applied with a new route that avoids some of the sensitive lands in Nebraska. That route was approved under a Nebraska permitting process that one court has struck down as invalid under the state’s constitution, because it did not go through an independent commission. The governor has appealed the ruling, but the State Department is reluctant to move forward with a permit decision until the appeal is decided in Nebraska.

Below is the White House statement today threatening to veto the House bill, known as the North American Energy Infrastructure Act:






June 24, 2014



H.R. 3301 – North American Energy Infrastructure Act

(Rep. Upton, R-Michigan, and 20 cosponsors)

The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 3301, which would require the specified Secretary to issue a “certificate of crossing” for any cross-border segment of an oil pipeline (Secretary of State) or electric transmission facility (Secretary of Energy) within 120 days after the completion of the environmental review, unless the Secretary finds that the cross-border pipeline or electric transmission facility “is not in the public interest of the United States.”

The bill’s 120-day approval requirement would circumvent the current authority for issuing Presidential Permits for cross-border pipelines and transmission facilities provided by Executive Orders 13337 and 10485, as amended, which allow for the full consideration of the complex issues raised by the building of such infrastructure.  That process dates back through many Administrations and has effectively addressed cross-border permitting decisions in a manner that serves the national interest.

H.R. 3301 would impose an unreasonable deadline that would curtail the thorough consideration of the issues involved, which could result in serious security, safety, foreign policy, environmental, economic, and other ramifications.  By preventing the opportunity for the necessary assessment of all factors relevant to the national interest, the bill would create significant policy risks and create legal uncertainty for permitting applicants.  Additionally, the bill would prevent assessment of whether modifications to border-crossing pipelines or electric transmission facilities are in the national interest, which is provided for through the current process.

H.R. 3301 would also raise serious trade implications by eliminating the current statutory requirement that the Department of Energy authorize orders for exports and imports of natural gas to and from Canada and Mexico.

Because H.R. 3301 would circumvent longstanding and proven processes for determining whether cross-border pipelines and electric transmission facilities are in the national interest by removing the Presidential permitting requirement, if presented to the President, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto this bill.


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Obama threatens to veto bill mandating Keystone XL

  1. I can’t believe Canada has been so clumsy about this….it could have been solved long ago.

    • Emily, if you think Canada is at fault here, then you haven’t been paying attention. This is all politicial theatre….it is not based upon reality.

      Obama is the most feckless, and least competent president the United States has ever had. And considering Jimmy Carter was president…..that’s saying something.

      • Oh do stop with the partisan nonsense.

        • Emily,

          The only nonsense is found in what you post. Canada has not be clumsy in fighting for the Keystone pipeline, it is Obama’s minions in the envirnmental movement who are behind this; as well as Canada’s resource competitors who don’t want to see any pipelines from Canada approved as it will cut into their bottom line.

          • I see that I need delete my comment about “friends buying Obama a house” as the claim was made a partisan source that can’t be claimed to be trustworthy. How can one edit one’s comments???? Help Macleans!

        • Partisan? Justin Trudeau also went to Washington to plead Canada’s case. Hollywood friends are buying the Obama’s a home for retirement. They don’t want Keystone and he needs their “friendship”. Case closed.

      • Harper is a complete “failed” lawyer, and yet, you expect him to be a “salesman” ? He can’t even deal with Canadian issues, nor does he want too, the man has some interrelational-psychotic issues.
        He had “F”-d this thing from day one,

        • Rickster,

          I see you have reached the point of “just making crap up” now.

          Harper is a policy wonk, not a salesman. Of course, as he said, the keystone decision should be a “no brainer”…but what he wasn’t counting on, is that Obama actually fits into the category of “no brain” when it comes to making responsible decisions.

          Obama never wanted this pipeline, and no amount of salesmanship will change his mind. We simply have to wait for Obama’s tenure to expire, and then deal with the next president. Hopefully, one who has qualifications that extend beyond his work at ACORN as a community organizer.

        • Harper…”failed lawyer”…..he is an economist with no training in law. Obama went to law school.

          • sorry, he’s a failed economist.

    • Harper has screwed it up from day one.
      Passing legislation stripping environmental protection.
      Burning scientific reports and studies.
      Jumping on the climate change deniers band wagon.
      Having the July 2009 TC Peace River pipeline explosion investigation report Jan.2011 delayed until Feb. 2014 AFTER the US ruled on Keystone. The report showed the pipeline corroded 95% in places and stating that TC took hours to stop the flow. Keystones flow rate will be 555b/minute.
      Passing CEAA 2012 which allows the Conservative cabinet to alter, reduce or delete some or all conditions attached to construction of a pipeline.
      On the other hand if they pass Keystone and it leaks and fouls their drinking water Canadians will make a fortune selling them water.

      • http://www.macleans.ca/authors/luiza-ch-savage/america-plans-to-ship-coal-supplies-to-china/

        If Obama is so upset with Canada’s environmental record, WHY is he doing this to the world? Surely he recognizes climate change is a global issue…whether you burn coal in the US or China, the result is the same. Also, whether the tarsands are in Fort Mac or Utah, they are still dirty….Whether you frac in Quebec or in the Dakotas, the oil is still highly volatile as was learned when an American rail company carry American oil exploded in a Quebec town. You can hate Harper for his dismal record but please don’t be making the Americans out to be hero’s.

    • We are too bloated, dysfunctional, indecisive and jelly fish politicians to get anything productive done any more. Whiners and those living off of taxpayers behinds have too much economic loooonacy and influence.

      Lack of real leadership. Just tax greed for lobbyists and special interests…inflated contracts and Orwellian welfare statism.

      Imagine the fall out if a politician set aside politically correct/corrupt and said no Pacific access for resources, no jobs, then we don’t have the social assistance welfare for the area…and listen to the whine and howling.

      No accountability, economic ignorance and loonacy runs the show. After all, they think its moral to borrow from the kids and unborn futures for todays statism/welfare greeds.

  2. Some real reasons XL is stalled, and none are good.

    Some political lobby groups fund anti-Pacific and anti-XL as to keep Canada’s reserves for futre USA wars. If the west had better Pacific access, we would get more money for our energy products, more taxes, more jobs and US no longer controls the Canadian markets.

    There is a military component to this tool. American politicians like their oil with blood and US munitions in it.

    Obama doesn’t want XP because if US does war on Islam, Saudi make more money, as Obama is a Muslim. If USA at war gets a energy crunch, no XL will not be good and cause economic issues to USA. After all, Obama damages in doubling the national debt in his term, debt-spending more than all presidents before him combined, is not going to be a good legacy for America and its children. It will kill much of the “American Dream” to debt-taxes and devalued standard of living.

    People need to always factor in undisclosed motivations when reading todays news. While much is conjecture, it proves more reliable in the end than reasin political spew with blind faith.

    • Why is there no anti-gibberish filter on the Macleans comment board?

      • Because it would mean the elimination of 80% of the regular posters on this site. It would just be me, a few others, and not much else.

        I’d kind of miss emilyone, rickster and Budster, and the other vicitims of “harper derangement system” and assorted marxists.

      • they already try to block enough posts from anyone who is NOT an extreme right’ist.
        you want more filters?, then you might as well not bother having a “board” here.