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Industryweek 8379 Keystone Protest

President Obama Vetoes Keystone Pipeline Bill

Feb. 25, 2015
In defying the Republican-controlled Congress, Obama made good on a long-standing veto promise and set the stage for a battle in the 2016 presidential election.

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama issued the most significant veto of his six-year presidency Tuesday, blocking legislation allowing the Keystone XL oil pipeline to be built between Canada and the United States.

In defying the Republican-controlled Congress, Obama made good on a long-standing veto promise and set the stage for a battle in the 2016 presidential election.

The 1,179-mile (1,900-kilometer) TransCanada-built pipeline would transport crude from oil sands in energy-rich Alberta province to a network of pipelines that reach across the United States to the shores of the Gulf of Mexico.

Many critics, mainly Democrats, have warned the project has potential oil spill risks and would actually create very few permanent jobs. Environmentalists say extracting the heavy petroleum from Alberta's oil sands will exacerbate climate change.

Democrats also have broadly denounced provisions which exclude TransCanada from certain fees and taxes as a "giveaway" to a foreign firm.

"Keystone approval would have handed a foreign company a license-to-leak on American soil because it keeps the special favors and exemptions that allow companies that ship or refine tar sands oil to dodge paying into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund -– leaving American taxpayers to foot the bill in the event of a spill," top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi said.

Canada's Minister of Natural Resources, Greg Rickford, said he still believed the pipeline would be built.

"This is not a debate between Canada and the U.S. It's a debate between the president and the American people, who are supportive of the project," Rickford said.

"It is not a question of if this project will be approved -- it is a matter of when."<

TransCanada vowed to keep fighting to get Keystone XL over the line.

"Keystone XL is in the national interest of the United States and should be approved and constructed," the firm said in a statement.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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