Updated at 5:44 p.m.
The House, in a bipartisan 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.
Today’s House vote follows one in the Senate on Jan. 29 to approve the project despite a presidential veto threat. The House had already voted to approve a version of the measure Jan. 9. Today’s measure endorsed the Senate’s changes, which said 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 we have 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.”
The two sides are even divided over the number of jobs 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, and is now deciding whether the project to carry oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico is in the national interest. Congressional Republicans want to short-circuit that years-long process and grant the pipeline a permit immediately.