Obama Threatens to Veto Transportation Bill if it Contains Keystone Provision – Updated

A vote is scheduled in the House today on a bill that will fund transportation programs through September. House Republicans again included language mandating federal approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. Of course, President Obama said he will veto the bill if it includes the Keystone provision.

It would take permitting of the proposed Alberta-to-Texas pipeline away from the State Department and task the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission with approving the project.

“Because this bill circumvents a longstanding and proven process for determining whether cross-border pipelines are in the national interest by mandating the permitting of the Keystone XL pipeline before a new route has been submitted and assessed, the president’s senior advisers would recommend that he veto this legislation,” the White House said in a formal “statement of administration policy” Tuesday afternoon.

The threat continues the political thrust-and-parry between the White House and Republicans over the controversial project that is increasingly at the center of election-year energy battles.

The White House in January rejected TransCanada Corp.’s permit for the pipeline, but stressed the decision was not on the “merits.”

Instead, the White House said that a permitting deadline the GOP demanded in late 2011 payroll tax legislation would short-circuit proper review of Keystone, including the route around ecologically sensitive regions of Nebraska.

The White House has invited TransCanada to reapply but does not plan to make a decision until 2013. (Read More)

The Canadians have pretty much made it clear that 2013 could be too late. Not that President Obama cares, do you remember when he quietly lobbied the Senate to kill the last Keystone provision? Oh, but of course he made a big show of approving the part of the project that didn’t need approval. He prefers to continue dumping billions of taxpayer dollars into failed green energy projects.

If he does veto the bill, something tells me he won’t hold a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden to make the announcement, like he did with his plan for oil speculators.

Update: Bill Quick linked – it looks like he’s warming up to Romney.

Also, according to Fox News, the bill passed in the House, but it’s not the same bill that passed the Senate. What I don’t know is if the House bill contains the provision that would allow the IRS to confiscate passports of people they accuse of being delinquent on their taxes. If anyone knows, please leave a comment below.