With all the debate that’s happened over the years, the new Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, easily passed the bill 266-153, with some support from Democrats. Despite Obama threatening to veto it if passed, the house is confident that Congress will push it through. The Senate is expected to approve it once debate begins next week after clearing a filibuster, LA Times reports.
However, while Obama has been delaying the project for years, Congress may not even have the votes necessary to override a veto, allowing him to continue his delays. It’s now a showdown in the White House, and we’ll see how Obama reacts.
The Keystone XL Pipeline is an oil pipeline designed to carry up to 830,000 barrels of petroleum per day from western Canada to the Gulf Coast. First proposed in 2005, this multi-billion dollar project has been already halfway built, but legislators have been trying to get a 1,179 mile extension to the pipeline for a while now. It’s been a highly debatable topic throughout the years because while it is said to create many temporary jobs and reduce U.S. reliance on imported oil from Venezuela and the Middle East, environmentalists are concerned that extracting petroleum from oil sands will create toxic runoff and create tons of carbon pollution because oil sands are more carbon-intensive than other forms of oil. They also fear a leak from the pipeline will create more environmental harm than from a standard oil pipeline.
However, ABC explains that it probably won’t harm the environment much at all. The State Department conducted a study that said impacts on air, water and landscape would be minimal. They also found that the large carbon dioxide emissions that government analysts predicted would likely occur anyway because of fuels produced and obtained from other sources. If the Keystone XL Pipeline project is block, China will directly get the oil, which can potentially be more dangerous to the environment because of China’s less strict environmental policies.