UPDATE 2-U.S. House passes Keystone bill, but Senate prospects are unclear

Fri Nov 14, 2014 3:54pm EST
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(Adds details about House vote, effort to get votes in Senate, and Obama comments)

By Timothy Gardner and Susan Cornwell

WASHINGTON Nov 14 (Reuters) - The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives approved the Keystone XL pipeline on Friday, but a similar measure struggled to get enough support in the Senate and President Barack Obama indicated he might use his veto if the bill does get through Congress.

The legislation, approved by 252 votes to 161, circumvents the need for approval of TransCanada Corp's $8 billion project by the Obama administration, which has been considering it for more than six years. No Republicans voted against the measure, while 31 Democrats voted for the bill.

It was the ninth time the House has passed a Keystone bill, and supporters were confident that this time the Senate would follow suit and pass its version.

But passage was not assured in the Senate, which is expected to take up the measure next Tuesday. Supporters were still one vote shy of the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster, a blocking procedure, an aide to a Keystone supporter said on Friday. The aide spoke on condition of anonymity.

Approval for the pipeline, which would help transport oil from Canada's oil sands to the U.S. Gulf coast energy hub, has rested with the Obama administration because it crosses an international border.

The decision has been pending amid jousting between proponents of the pipeline who say it would create thousands of construction jobs and environmentalists who say it would increase carbon emissions linked to climate change.

If the measure did pass Congress Obama would have to decide whether to make rare use of his veto power.   Continued...