U.S. Congress set to pass bill approving Keystone

The United States Congress is set to send a bill approving the privately funded Canadian Keystone XL oil pipeline project to President Barack Obama, who has vowed to veto it.

WASHINGTON — The United States Congress is set to send a bill approving the privately funded Canadian Keystone XL oil pipeline project to President Barack Obama, who has vowed to veto it.

The House is expected to pass the bill easily Wednesday, capping weeks of debate over one of Republicans’ top priorities — a bill authorizing the construction of the much-delayed pipeline project of Calgary based TransCanada Corp.

However, support in both the Senate and House has not been enough to override a veto, and backers of the bill said they are already strategizing ways to get it approved by other means, such as attaching it to a broader energy or spending bill.

The pipeline has exposed larger divisions between environmentalists concerned about global warming and potential oil spills against supporters who argue that the $8 billion project will create jobs and boost U.S. energy security. One of the measures added to the bill by the Senate states that climate change is not a hoax, which could make some conservative Republicans think twice.

“We’re going to continue to keep our promise to the people by finishing our work on the Keystone pipeline,” House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio said Wednesday before the vote. Boehner said the president was listening to “left-fringe extremists” rather than the American people.

“The president needs to listen to the American people and say ’yes, let’s build the Keystone pipeline,”’ Boehner said.

The pipeline is the first of many standoffs expected between Obama and Republicans on energy and environment.

As the House prepared to vote on the bill, the Senate environment panel on Wednesday planned to hold its first hearing examining the Obama administration’s plans to curb heat-trapping carbon dioxide from power plants. The initiative is the cornerstone of Obama’s efforts to curb global warming.

The House is also expected to unveil a larger energy bill next week.

Obama has rejected previous attempts to force his hand on the Keystone XL pipeline, saying he wanted the review process to play out and to ensure the pipeline wouldn’t exacerbate global warming. The pipeline was first proposed in 2008.

While the State Department’s January 2014 analysis said Canada’s oilsands would be developed regardless of whether the pipeline was approved — meaning the pipeline itself would not increase greenhouse gas emissions — the Environmental Protection Agency has said that analysis needs to be revisited because of lower oil prices.

TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP), meanwhile, has written to the U.S. State Department to dispute the EPA’s latest criticism.

The company takes issue with the EPA report, which said the recent drop in oil prices will increase Keystone’s contribution to greenhouse gases and climate change.

Among other things, TransCanada says the EPA’s conclusions aren’t supported by the State Department’s analysis or by actual market prices and production rates since the company first applied for approval in 2008.

Senate Majority Mitch McConnell of Kentucky urged Obama to sign the bill on Wednesday, saying it was “common sense.”

“So Americans are urging President Obama not to interfere in the review process for political reasons any longer,” McConnell said. “Americans are urging the president to finally heed scientific conclusions his own State Department already reached.”

Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota, the chief Republican sponsor of the bill in the Senate, also called on the president to approve the project. The pipeline would carry oil from Canadian oilsands to Nebraska, where it would connect with existing pipelines to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast.

The pipeline would also carry some of the oil from North Dakota’s oil boom

“The president needs to work with Congress in a bipartisan way and approve the Keystone XL pipeline project for the American people,” Hoeven said.

Just Posted

Festival of Trees volunteers honoured at breakfast

This year’s Festival of Trees was able to provide the Red Deer… Continue reading

Two Red Deer filmmakers are finalists in web-series contest

Angel Peterson and Jason Steele are each creating pilot episodes with $20,000 prize

Sexual predator preyed on his own young daughter and niece

Eckville man sexually assaulted numerous children as young as two for nearly a decade

Scheer’s resignation tips party into internal war over school tuition payments

OTTAWA — Signs began to emerge Friday that the coming race to… Continue reading

Man who tried to kill Edmonton police officer, pedestrians sentenced to 28 years

EDMONTON — A man convicted of attacking an Edmonton police officer and… Continue reading

Drug bust: Red Deer RCMP seize drugs, cash, vehicles

Criminals are getting creative. Red Deer RCMP have seized cash and vehicles… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Thursday Join us at the Senior Center Downtown House (5414 43 St.… Continue reading

Regina police say male driver dies at scene after collision with large truck

REGINA — Police in Regina are investigating a fatal crash in the… Continue reading

From fourth place, Singh says he’d rather push Liberals than work with Tories

OTTAWA — The New Democratic Party is sitting in fourth place after… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $31 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $31 million jackpot… Continue reading

Vancouver homeless camp brings community, safety, home, says resident

VANCOUVER — Standing out in the rain on a path between tents… Continue reading

Advocate says Winnipeg must tackle poverty, addictions to end violent crime

WINNIPEG — A recent spike in violent crime in Manitoba’s capital has… Continue reading

Grizzly bears move north in High Arctic as climate change expands range

Some unlikely neighbours are moving in around the northernmost communities of the… Continue reading

Lawyers for QuadrigaCX clients request exhumation of late founder’s remains

HALIFAX — Lawyers for clients who lost millions in the bankruptcy of… Continue reading

Most Read