[JURIST] The US Senate on Wednesday failed [vote count] to override President Barack Obama’s veto of the Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act [S1 materials]. The Senate needed 67 votes to override the veto [JURIST report], but the vote fell short with a final count of 62-37. The votes were cast along partisan lines, with all Senate Republicans and eight Democrats supporting the bill. This action means that the House of Representatives will not vote on the override. Attempts to override the veto were expected to fail, but Republicans viewed the action [WSJ report] as a way to show that the pipeline had bipartisan support.
The proposed Keystone XL pipeline has generated significant controversy [JURIST report]. Expansion [WP report] of the existing Keystone pipeline would allow for the transmission of 830,000 barrels of crude oil daily from the tar sand producing regions of Alberta, Canada to refining facilities on the Gulf of Mexico. TransCanada [corporate website], the company seeking to build the pipeline, indicates [project website] that this development would support crude oil production in the Bakken Shale formation, which lies primarily in North Dakota and Montana, and that it is crucial to energy security in the US. Under US law, TransCanada must receive a permit from the US Department of State [official website] because the project crosses the US-Canada border. According to the State Department, Executive Order 13337 [text; PDF] grants the Secretary of State “the power to decide whether a project serves the national interest before granting a Presidential Permit.” If a presidential permit is granted, construction of the project can commence.