The White House warned the new Republican-controlled Congress Tuesday that President Barack Obama will veto pending legislation calling for construction of a controversial oil pipeline running from Canada through the central part of the United States.
Congressional supporters of the Keystone XL pipeline failed by one vote to win approval for its construction in the waning days of the last session of Congress. But Republicans, in an early political showdown with Obama, a Democrat, say their first legislative priority in the new session will be approval of the project.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said there is a well-established process to review the pipeline, including the years-long study that it being conducted by the State Department.
Earnest said the president “has been pretty clear” that circumventing the review “is not the right thing for Congress to do.”
The pipeline would stretch from the Canadian province of Alberta more than 1,900 kilometers to the central U.S. state of Nebraska. It would then connect to an existing pipeline carrying the oil to refineries near the Gulf of Mexico along the southern U.S. shoreline.
Business and oil interests have long favored the pipeline’s construction, saying it will create new jobs. But Obama said last month the job creation would be “nominal,” and environmentalists have adamantly opposed the project and urge its rejection.