The White House announced today that President Barack Obama will veto legislation that approves the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. As recent as yesterday’s White House press briefing, Press Secretary Josh Earnest had not said whether the president supports or opposes the project. But today, Earnest confirmed to reporters that the president will not sign it if it passes the new 114th Congress.
“There is already a well-established process in place to consider whether or not infrastructure projects like this are in the best interest of the country,” Earnest said. “In previous administrations, when pipeline projects like this were considered, they were evaluated by the State Department and other experts in the administration to reach a determination about whether or not that project was in the national interest.”
Back in November, similar legislation failed to pass in the Senate by a vote of 59 to 41. The new Senate bill has bipartisan support among 60 senators. Obama had delayed his decision on the pipeline, which was supposed to be made last May.
UPDATE — 2:20 P.M. ET: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-V.T.) released a statement commending Obama for “standing up to Republicans”:
“I applaud the president for standing up to Republicans trying to ram through Congress a bill to let a Canadian oil company ship some of the dirtiest oil on the planet across the United States on its way to overseas markets.
Climate change is real. It is caused by human activities. It already is causing devastating problems and if we don’t transform our energy system those problems will become much worse in years to come. Our country must lead the world in combating the planetary crisis of global warming. We must not reject science and set a terrible example by encouraging the drilling of oil that creates more carbon emissions than conventional oil and poses the risk of extremely damaging oil spills.
If we are serious about protecting the planet and improving our economy, we must focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy, not a continued dependence on fossil fuels.”
Watch the video below, via YouTube:
[Image via screengrab]
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