Highway bill faces veto threat

Jill Dunn | April 18, 2012

The White House has said it would veto a transportation funding bill that cleared the House Rules Committee April 17 because the legislation mandates permitting the Keystone XL oil pipeline without proper procedures.

The 10-member committee voted along party lines, with the three Democrat members voting against the bill that would provide transportation appropriations from July 1 to Sept. 30.

Federal transportation funding is currently operating on a three-month funding extension President Obama signed into law March 30, which represents the ninth extension since the last omnibus funding bill expired in 2009.

The legislation would “circumvent a longstanding and proven process for determining whether cross-border pipelines are in the national interest and for assessing the environmental impacts,” according to the White House’s statement.

“The pipeline route has yet to be identified and there is no complete assessment of its potential impacts, including impacts on health and safety, the economy, foreign policy, energy security and the environment,” the statement adds.

In January, Obama put a hold on the permit application by Canadian operator TransCanada to build the pipeline from Canada to Texas.