Groups Call Time on Obama: Veto Congress' KXL Bill, Then Kill Project Outright

October 11, 2020 0 By JohnValbyNation

With members who receive large financial backing from oil and gas interests playing the dominant role, the House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday evening which would force the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Having already been approved by the Senate, the passage sets up a promised veto of the measure from President Obama as it heads to his desk.

In a 270-152 vote, which fell largely along party lines, the Republican-controlled House easily passed the measure. Twenty-nine Democrats joined with Republicans in favor of the bill.

The Senate passed same the bill by a 62-36 margin last month. Neither the House nor the Senate appears to have enough votes to override a presidential veto.

Sara Shor, a campaigner with, a group vocally opposed to the tar sands pipeline project known as KLX, described the ploy by Republicans and some Democrats in Congress to force its approval as a “charade” and said her group fully expects Obame to keep his pledge to veto the legislation. Obama now has ten days to veto or approve the legislation.

However, Shor added, “Once he vetoes this bill, the pipeline won’t be stopped, so we hope he will then use his power to reject the pipeline outright.” 

Valerie Love, from the Center for Biological Diversity, echoed those sentiments. “Now that this political theater is over in Congress, it’s time for President Obama to finally do what’s right for people, wildlife and the climate: reject Keystone XL once and for all,” Love said. “There’s been a massive swell of opposition to Keystone XL from people coast to coast who understand the devastation of Keystone XL and projects like it. It’s time to start tackling the climate crisis and get us off our fossil fuel addiction. Rejecting Keystone XL is the right place to start.”

According to the Maplight Foundation, which tracks financial contributions to congressional campaigns, those members of the House who receive large backing from the oil and gas industries were much more likely to vote in favor of the Keystone XL approval than those who receive less. As Maplight’s analysis shows:

  • The oil and gas industry gave, on average, 13 times more money to representatives voting ‘YES’ ($45,218) on S. 1  compared to representatives voting ‘NO’ ($3,549).
  • The oil and gas industry gave, on average, 5.3 times more money to Democratic representatives voting ‘YES’ ($18,141) on S.1 compared to Democratic representatives voting ‘NO’ ($3,444).