The decision comes as TransCanada is preparing to build the oil pipeline beginning in northern Montana, with pipe being shipped to the state by train and trucked to locations along the line.
Undersecretary for political affairs Tom Shannon plans to sign the pipeline’s cross-border permit on or before Monday, the last day for the 60-day timeline that President Donald Trump ordered in January. Secretary of State and former Exxon Mobil Chief Executive Rex Tillerson recused himself from the process.
“The State Department has decided that the Keystone XL Pipeline would not serve the national interest of the U.S.,” President Barack Obama said in brief remarks from the White House. “I agree with that decision.”
“We have communicated to them our intention to continue the review,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said. “We’re not required to pause it based on an applicant’s request, there’s no legal basis to do that.” Mr. Kirby added that a lot of interagency work has gone into reviewing the project.
Hillary Clinton’s ridiculous hedge on Keystone XL "If it’s undecided when I become president, I will answer your question," Clinton said. "This is President Obama's decision. I'm not going to second-guess him." Er, what? Clinton went on to note that she was in a position unique among the 2016 field due to her time as secretary of state. "I'm in a different position than any other candidate," Clinton said. "I was there. I put this process together. I oversaw it for four years." (Because the pipeline would begin in Canada, its approval -- or not -- is in the hands of the State Department.) Uh huh.
"The presidential power to veto legislation is one I take seriously," Obama said in his veto message. "But I also take seriously my responsibility to the American people. And because this act of Congress conflicts with established executive branch procedures and cuts short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest — including our security, safety, and environment — it has earned my veto."Suddenly, the President is concerned about "well established executive branch procedures" *cough* executive immigration overreach *cough*. But I digress...
West Virginia Train Derails, Sending Oil Tanker Into River Oil from North Dakota's shale fields was still burning in West Virginia a day after a train carrying more than 3 million gallons of crude derailed in a snowstorm, shooting fireballs into the sky. Hundreds of families were evacuated and nearby water treatment plants were temporarily shut down after 19 tanker cars left the tracks and caught fire, leaking oil into a Kanawha River tributary and burning a nearby house down to its foundation. "There's nothing there," said Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, who toured the scene. "All you can see is a couple of blocks sticking out of the ground. There's some pickup trucks out front completely burned to the ground."The flames caused by the crash were unbelievable: The accident has revived the debate over the Keystone XL Pipeline, a mode of fuel transport proponents claim is much safer.
Still, if Obama vetoes too many bills, especially ones with Democratic support, Republicans could have success portraying him as partisan and unwilling to negotiate. “One veto doesn’t make him obstructionist,” said James Thurber, a professor of government at American University. “Now maybe after 3, 4, 5 vetoes, then they could start painting him that way.”Portraying him. Painting him. Not, of course, that he is that way. Here's a statistic: since January, Obama has issued eight veto threats. That's "the most ever for the start of a new Congress." Obama thinks this projects strength, and to his supporters it most definitely does. When the Republicans---even when in the majority in the House, and even with Democratic support---tried to block something Obama was attempting, their actions were painted as unreasonable and stubborn obstructionism. Now, when Obama plans to block what a Republican-majority Congress has done, even when those Republicans have a significant amount of support from moderate Democrats, it's a show of strength and resolve.
Legislation approving construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline cleared an initial Senate hurdle Monday, a victory for newly empowered Republicans angling for a quick veto showdown with President Barack Obama. The bipartisan 63-32 vote was 3 more than the 60 required, and well above the level the highly controversial measure ever gained in recent years when Democrats controlled the Senate.... But with more than enough votes at their command, Republican and Democratic supporters said they hoped the legislation could win final approval and be sent to the White House by the end of next week. "President Obama has every reason to sign the jobs and infrastructure bill that we will pass," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. He noted that the Nebraska Supreme Court had recently rejected a legal challenge brought by opponents, an obstacle the White House had cited.While this vote was important, backers of the pipeline will need to hold the line when it times to voting to close debate. That's when the arm-twisting by the White House will get real. But with 60 cosponsors, there may not be much the White House can do to avoid having to issue a veto. National Journal reports there are not currently enough votes to override a veto, but the open amendment process might help in that regard:
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