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House Sends Keystone XL Pipeline Measure To Obama Despite Veto Threat

Updated at 5:44 p.m.

The House, in a 270-152 vote today, approved the Keystone XL pipeline project and sent the measure to President Obama who has said he will veto it.

NPR's Juana Summers tells our Newscast unit this isn't likely to be the last standoff between the GOP-controlled Congress and the White House on energy issues. They are also likely to clash on the president's climate rules aimed at cutting carbon pollution.

Republicans had made approving the Keystone XL pipeline one of their top priorities when they took control of Congress in January. Twenty-nine of the House's 188 Democrats also voted for the bill.

The vote follows one in the Senate on Jan. 29 to approve the project despite a presidential veto threat. The House already had voted to approve a version of the Keystone XL measure Jan. 9. Today's measure endorsed the Senate's changes, which added language saying that climate change was real, and that oil sands should not be exempt from a spill-cleanup tax, The Associated Press reported.

Republicans do not appear to have enough votes to override an Obama veto.

As NPR previously reported, the pipeline is "a hot-button political issue — with politicians from both parties, some unions and energy companies supporting its approval, while environmental groups, some Nebraska landowners and some liberal Democrats oppose it."

There's a wide gulf in the number of jobs the two sides estimate that the project would create: Supporters say the number is 40,000; opponents cite one estimate that the $8 billion project would create just 35 permanent jobs.

The U.S. State Department has been reviewing the pipeline for more than six years, working to determine whether the project to carry oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico is in the national interest. Congressional Republicans want to circumvent that years-long process and grant the pipeline a permit immediately.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Krishnadev Calamur is NPR's deputy Washington editor. In this role, he helps oversee planning of the Washington desk's news coverage. He also edits NPR's Supreme Court coverage. Previously, Calamur was an editor and staff writer at The Atlantic. This is his second stint at NPR, having previously worked on NPR's website from 2008-15. Calamur received an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri.
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