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December 22, 2014

Keystone Pipeline Gets Top Slot On 114th Congress’s To Do List

Sen. Mitch McConnell, who will become U.S. Senate majority leader in January, told reporters last week that the upper chamber’s first order of business in 2015 will be passage of legislation to give approval to the Keystone XL Pipeline

The project has been under review by the Obama Administration for six years and the bill the Senate will vote on will take away from the White House the ultimate authority to approve or deny the project and give that authority to Congress. The legislation should easily pass in the U.S. House and it is believed the Senate now has 60 votes in support of the bill – enough to override a potential White House veto. In an end of the year press conference President Barack Obama offered only tepid support for the pipeline. He argued the project is “very good for Canadian oil companies and it's good for the Canadian oil industry, but it's not going to be a huge benefit to U.S. consumers. It is not even going to be a nominal benefit to U.S. consumers.” (It is important to note the White House has not indicated whether or not the president would veto Keystone legislation.)

Meanwhile, the Nebraska Supreme Court is expected to rule in the next few weeks on the constitutionality of the state law that approved the path for the pipeline. If the court strikes down the law, TransCanada, the company that owns the pipeline, will need to ask the Nebraska Public Service Commission for its approval, a process that could take many months. The Obama Administration has suspended its review of the project while the Nebraska litigation moves forward.