President Barack Obama. Image courtesy of the White House/Flickr.

President Obama vowed Thursday to veto the Keystone XL pipeline approval bill after the Senate green lighted the project but fell five votes short of a veto proof majority.

The bill, designed to bypass a long pending review of the project by the Obama administration, passed 62 to 36 and will now go to the House of Representatives for a vote.

It is unclear if the House will pass the Senate’s version of the bill or merge two versions of the bill and send it back to both chambers for another vote.

The House has passed similar bills approving the 800,000 barrel per day pipeline nine times.

The bill is expected to land on the president’s desk as soon as next week.

Republican leaders said if this bill fails legislators will try again.

“There will be other opportunities,” Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota told Reuters.

The $8 billion pipeline, operated by Calgary-based TransCanada, has been mired in regulatory red tape for the last six years.

In November, TransCanada said that regulatory delays have spiked costs for the crude pipeline to $8.4 billion, significantly higher than initial budget estimates of $5.4 billion.

President Obama has said he is waiting for the State Department to finish its evaluation of the proposed pipeline before making a final decision.

The State Department recently informed other agencies that they have until February 2 to complete evaluations of the project.

Last year the State Department released a key assessment of the pipeline that concluded the project would have a limited environmental impact.

Even if the project wins federal approval TransCanada must still get approval from the Nebraska State Supreme Court and the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission before the pipeline can go online.

The Keystone XL pipeline would stretch 1,179-mile from Hardisty, Alberta to to Steele City, Nebraska located just north of the Cushing oil hub.

The U.S. leg of the pipeline would run 875 miles from Morgan, Montana to Steele City.


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