If the U.S. Congress passes legislation authorizing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, President Barack Obama will not sign it, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said yesterday.
Republicans have promised to make Keystone the first order of business for the new Congress, but news coverage this week suggests there will only be 63 Senate votes to approve the project, well short of the 67 required to override a presidential veto.
In his statement, Earnest said immediate legislation would undermine a State Department review process that is already “well established,” and noted that the validity of the pipeline route is still under review by the Nebraska Supreme Court.
“If President Obama is going to veto legislation to approve Keystone XL, he can save Congress the trouble by rejecting the permit now,” tweeted 350.org. Founder Bill McKibben later commented that “Obama’s Keystone veto threat is proof that climate activism works.”