February 8, 2015

Effort To Approve Keystone XL Pipeline Suffers Serious Blow

In what Politico Pro (subscription required) called “a road map for rejecting the Keystone XL,” the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week asked the U.S. State Department to revisit its report on the Keystone XL Pipeline because lower oil prices might “increase the pipeline's environmental impact and stimulate production in the carbon-rich Canadian oil sands.” (As a reminder, the U.S. State Department has argued on multiple occasions the pipeline would not significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions.) 

The State Department is on track make its final recommendation to President Barack Obama on the pipeline after it receives input and comments from other federal agencies, a process that is expected to conclude this month. The EPA’s opinion is expected to weigh heavily on that process. 

While the Obama administration continues its review, the U.S. House will vote this week on final passage of a bill that would take authority to approve or deny the Keystone Pipeline permit away from the White House and give it to Congress. The chamber is expected to easily pass that measure, which will then go to the president’s desk. As Connecting the Dots has reported previously, the president has said he will veto the legislation and, even though there is bipartisan support for the bill in both the House and Senate, it is unlikely either chamber has enough votes to override that veto.