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

President Obama followed through on his threat to veto the Keystone XL approval bill Tuesday, putting the TransCanada operated pipeline back into regulatory limbo.

“Through this bill, the United States Congress attempts to circumvent longstanding and proven processes for determining whether or not building and operating a cross-border pipeline serves the national interest,” Obama said.

Obama is expected to make a final decision on the project in the coming weeks once the State Department issues a long awaited report.

TransCanada CEO Russ Girling said the company remains “fully committed” to opening the $8 billion pipeline despite the veto and will work with the State Department to address concerns about the project.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said congressional Republicans will try to override the veto by March 3.

The bill  was approved by the House with a 270-152 vote earlier this month but fell short of a veto proof majority.

The Environmental Protection Agency has urged Obama to consider the effect the Keystone XL pipeline would have on oil sands production before approving the project.

In a report the EPA said the pipeline could encourage Canadian oil sands development and raise greenhouse gas emissions, contradicting previous government studies.

An earlier State Department report concluded that oil sand projects would continue to be developed with or without the pipeline.

The EPA now says that conclusion “was based in large part on projections of the global price of oil.”

Calgary-based TransCanada filed paperwork in nine Nebraska counties late last month to invoke eminent domain for land needed to construct, operate and maintain the Keystone XL.

A North Dakota court issued a temporary injunction against TransCanada in early February to halt the company from invoking eminent domain.

The company agreed to the order and hopes to get an accelerated trial schedule, the AP said.

The 830,000 barrel per day pipeline would stretch 1,179-mile from Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska located just north of the Cushing oil hub



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