Policy Pulse: Keystone Pipeline

After weeks of debate, the U.S. Senate approved construction of TransCanada Corporation’s Keystone XL oil pipeline on January 29 by a vote of 62 to 36. On February 11, the House of Representatives approved the Senate bill, and on February 24, President Obama vetoed it. Now the Senate will try to override the veto, which will require 67 votes.

The Keystone XL pipeline would move oil from the tar sands of Alberta and other sources to refineries in Texas. The president favors the standard review process for a border-crossing pipeline – approval by the U.S. Department of State, which is tasked with determining whether the proposed pipeline would serve the national interest. The State Department’s review is ongoing.

League conservation policy opposes construction of the Keystone XL pipeline until all reviews of the proposal are completed, such as the one by the State Department; the risk of leaks and spills are minimized through fail-safe construction, such as double-wall pipes; and financial assurances are required to mitigate health and environmental damages.