(Corrects to 67 from 60 the votes needed in Senate to overcome
By Ros Krasny
WASHINGTON May 21 The White House has
threatened to veto legislation pending in the U.S House of
Representatives that could strip from President Barack Obama the
authority to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.
The Republican-controlled House is expected on Wednesday to
vote on, and almost certainly approve, H.R. 3, the Northern
Route Approval Act.
The bill would declare a Presidential cross-border permit is
not required to approve the TransCanada Corp.'s
proposed pipeline, which would carry oil sands from Canada's
Alberta province to refiners in Texas.
Obama's advisers "would recommend that he veto this bill,"
the White House's Office of Management and Budget said in a
statement of administrative policy.
Prospects for action on Keystone in the Senate, which is
held by Democrats, are uncertain.
A majority of the Senate wrote to Obama in January urging
approval of the project. But those 53 backers, including nine
Democrats, would be far short of the two-thirds votes needed to
overcome a presidential veto - 67 if all 100 members of the
In its statement the OMB said the House bill "conflicts with
longstanding Executive branch procedures regarding the authority
of the President, the Secretaries of State, the Interior, and
the Army, and the Environmental Protection Agency
It added that the State Department "is working diligently to
complete the permit decision process" for Keystone, making the
A decision on the pipeline has been pending for over four
years. The project is strongly supported by much of the energy
industry as a boost to North American oil security, and by some
unions as a driver of job creation.
Environmental groups say the 830,000-barrel-per-day
pipeline would raise greenhouse gas emissions and lock the
United States into oil dependence for decades into the future.
(Reporting by Ros Krasny; Editing by Bob Burgdorfer)