Speaking amid renewed intense debate over the Keystone XL pipeline, President Barack Obama said Friday that project would not be a major job creator nor bring down gas prices.
While Obama didn't directly threaten a veto, he stressed his position hadn't changed. He spoke just before the House approved a bill authorizing construction of the pipeline from Canada through the U.S.
“I have to constantly push back against this idea that somehow the Keystone pipeline is either this massive jobs bill for the United States, or is somehow lowering gas prices,” Obama told reporters Friday during a joint appearance with Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar.
“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,” Obama said. “That doesn't have an impact on U.S. gas prices.”
The pipeline has strong bipartisan support. The Republican-controlled House approved the measure 252-161 Friday, and the Senate is expected to vote on the bill next week, though it will likely be closer in a chamber still controlled by Democrats until January.
Obama said that the State Department is reviewing whether the pipeline would impact climate change in the United States and whether it would benefit U.S. energy needs. He also pointed to a Nebraska court case.
“My position hasn’t changed, that this is a process that is supposed to be followed,” Obama said. “Right now you have a case pending in Nebraska, where the pipeline would run through, in which a state court judge has questioned the plan. And until we know what the route is, it’s very hard to finish that evaluation and I don’t think we should short-circuit that process.”