The President Vetoes the Keystone XL pipeline

Today, President Barack Obama vetoed congressional legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, a visible 1,179 mile tar sands pipeline that cuts across the western United States bringing tar sands from Canada to the Gulf for refinement.

The Keystone XL bears many similarities to the Flanagan South pipeline but has received much more national attention. Because the pipeline crosses the border between Canada and the US, the State department does the review of the pipeline. The KXL project, built by TransCanada, has been in review for six years. A point of tension for the United States government is not only whether or not approve the pipeline, but how long it takes to review the pipeline to determine whether or not it is in the “nation’s best interest.” The push to give the pipeline a permit quickly without extensive review has been a major point of debate.

At maximum capacity, the Flanagan South could carry just as much or more tar sands as the KXL. At its current operational capacity, Flanagan carries a little less than 200,000 barrels per day than what the KXL would.

Building the KXL signals a major commitment to fossil fuels as a significant part of the nation’s energy future, but as Lorin Crandall of MO Coalition for the Environment says in From the Pipeline, “There’s an entire network of pipelines being converted and built all across the United States.” While we see mainstream opposition to the Keystone XL, we must keep in mind that it is this entire network of pipelines and their fast-track permitting processes that deserve extensive consideration, review, mainstream attention, and the chance for public comment.

The Senate will vote this week – by March 3, 2015 – on whether or not to override the President’s veto.

You can read coverage of the veto here at NPR news.

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