The U.S. Senate passed a bill approving construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline on Thursday, setting up a showdown with President Barack Obama, who has promised to veto the measure.
Thursday’s vote culminated six years of intense debate over the proposed 1,179-mile pipeline, designed to ship Canadian oil sands crude to the U.S. Gulf Coast.
The Senate passed the measure on a vote of 62 to 36. An almost identical bill already passed the House earlier this month and so the measure will go to Obama as soon as the Senate and House work out final wording.
The White House reiterated this week that the president plans to veto the measure, with White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest saying that “our position on the Keystone legislation is well-known.”
There are not enough Keystone supporters in Congress to muster the two-thirds vote that would be needed to override a presidential veto.
The $8 billion Keystone pipeline has become America’s noisiest fight over jobs and the environment, a political line in the sand that’s come to symbolize the debate over the economy and climate change.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the pipeline has been studied for over six years and would “support thousands of good American jobs.”
Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass, called the Senate action a farce.
“The media circus surrounding the Super Bowl has nothing on this over-inflated Senate debate on Canadian export pipeline legislation that will never be signed into law,” Markey said.