Yesterday, the House passed a bill that would bypass the president to approve the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline. The bill will take away the need for presidential approval for the pipeline, which would move tar sands oil, the most toxic fossil fuel on the planet, from Canada to the Gulf Coast to be refined and shipped overseas.
Democrats criticized the legislation as a scheme to allow TransCanada to avoid environmental review, and Republicans said the measure was needed to push through the project that has been on the table since 2008, according to The Huffington Post.
President Obama said earlier this week that he would veto the legislation mainly because it omits the need for presidential approval, thereby circumventing “longstanding and proven processes.” His veto, along with Democratic opposition in the Senate could mean the bill will not pass beyond the House, The Hill reports.
While the president has been unwilling to take a definitive stance on the pipeline, despite the fact that the argument that the pipeline would create jobs has been disproven time and time again, both he and his aides have rarely talked about the Keystone permit decision in the last few years, and have emphasized that the State Department has primary authority over TransCanada’s application, according to The Washington Post.
However, because of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the State Department could be blocked from doing little more than stalling the implementation of this environmental hazard. NAFTA, which was signed into law by Clinton in 1994, removes all barriers for North American countries to do business in or through other North American countries, even environmental barriers.
On top of which, the ties between Hillary Clinton and many of her former staffers and the Keystone project provided that the proposed pipeline was never properly reviewed.
DeSmogBlog writes, “As the NRDC pointed out, many of the so-called “standards” that the State Department put in place regarding the pipeline were simple “smoke and mirror” schemes to distract the public… Furthermore, climate impacts from operation and construction were almost completely ignored.”
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Alisha is a writer and researcher for Ring of Fire.