Introduction and Tracking: A Bill to Approve the Keystone XL Pipeline (S.1)
On Jan. 6, 2015, S.1 was introduced in the US Senate as the first bill of the 2015 congress. The bill was introduced by Senators John Hoeven (R-ND) and Joe Manchin (D-WV). The bill had 53 Republican and 6 Democratic co-sponsors.
On Jan. 29, 2015, the Senate passed the Keystone XL Pipeline Act (S.1) by a 62-36 vote.
On Feb. 11, 2015, the US House of Representatives approved the Senate Bill on the Keystone Pipeline in a 270-152 vote.
On Tue. Feb. 24, 2015, President Obama vetoed the bill to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
"In General - TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, L.P. may construct, connect, operate, and, maintain the pipeline and cross-border facilities described in the application filed on May 4,2012, by TransCanada Corporation to the Department of State (including any subsequent revision to the pipeline route within the State of Nebraska required or authorized by the State of Nebraska)...
The Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement issued by the Secretary of State in January 2014... shall be considered to fully satisfy -
(1) all requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4327 et seq.);
(2) and any other provision of law that requires Federal agency consultation or review (including the consultation or review required under section 7(a) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C' 1536(a))) with respect to the pipeline and facilities referred to in subsection (a)."
Source: Library of Congress, "Text: S.1 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)," congress.gov (accessed Jan. 9, 2015)
Bill Description from Sponsors Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV)
"U.S. Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) today introduced legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline project under Congress’s authority enumerated in the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8.
The Hoeven-Manchin bill, S.1, is the first piece of legislation brought to the floor in the 114th Congress. Sixty senators are cosponsoring the bill, and 63 senators have indicated support for the legislation at this point…
The legislation authorizes TransCanada to construct and operate the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to the U.S. Gulf Coast, transporting an additional 830,000 barrels of oil per day to U.S. refineries, which includes 100,000 barrels a day from the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana. Upon passage, a presidential permit would no longer be needed to approve the project.
The measure formally recognizes the most recent State Department final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) released in January of 2014, which concludes that construction of the Keystone XL pipeline would have no significant impact on the environment, nor would it make any difference in the development of the Canadian oil sands."
Source: Press Release, "Hoeven, Manchin Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Approve Keystone XL Pipeline in New Congress," hoeven.senate.gov, Jan. 6, 2015
Obama Administration Veto Threat
"This piece of legislation is not altogether different than legislation that was introduced in the last Congress, and you’ll recall that we put out a statement of administration position indicating that the President would have vetoed had that bill passed the previous Congress. And I can confirm for you that if this bill passes this Congress the President wouldn't sign it either.
And that's because there’s already a well-established process in place to consider whether or not infrastructure projects like this are in the best interest of the country; that in previous administrations when pipeline projects like this were considered they were evaluated by the State Department and other experts in the administration to reach a determination about whether or not that project was in the national interest.
Now, the thing that is impeding a final conclusion about this pipeline is the fact that the pipeline route has not even been finalized yet, that there continues to be an outstanding question about the route of the pipeline through one part of Nebraska, and that’s related to an ongoing legal matter in Nebraska. Once that is resolved, that should speed the completion of the evaluation of that project.
I think the President has been pretty clear that he does not think that circumventing a well-established process for evaluating these projects is the right thing for Congress to do."