President Barack Obama just offered a hint—a really big hint—that he intends to veto the Keystone XL pipeline if Congress passes a bill approving it.
White House officials have already signaled that Obama was inclined to block the legislation, which Republicans have long touted and which has been gathering support among Democrats. But typically the administration focuses on process more than policy: The president and his advisers say that congressional action on Keystone would circumvent the normal federal review process, which involves an asessment from the State Department. These latest comments, in response to reporters’ questions in Myanmar on Friday, more directly challenged the policy rational proponents make—that the pipeline would be a major source of jobs.
“Understand what this project is: It is providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the Gulf, where it will be sold everywhere else. It doesn't have an impact on US gas prices,” he said, according to ABC News. “If my Republican friends really want to focus on what's good for the American people in terms of job creation and lower energy costs, we should be engaging in a conversation about what are we doing to produce even more homegrown energy? I'm happy to have that conversation."
These remarks echo the arguments long made by anti-Keystone XL activists, who say it creates few permanent jobs and will not change energy prices.
Congress sees it differently. The House of Representatives is approving legislation on the pipeline today, and the Senate is expected to on Tuesday.