Despite ambitious attempts by Republicans to resuscitate the Keystone XL pipeline blocked by Barack Obama, the project isn’t likely to get approved until the president is voted out of office, said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
“We’re going to keep coming back at it with different (bills), but I think probably the only way we’re going to get the Keystone pipeline started is to defeat Barack Obama,” McConnell told HUMAN EVENTS.
TransCanada has waited for three years and undergone numerous environmental studies to get the approval from the White House to build the pipeline from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast and transport 830,000 barrels of oil a day to U.S. refineries.
After numerous delays by the Obama administration, Congress forced Obama through legislation to deliver a verdict, but he killed the project last month.
“It is astonishing, I mean truly astonishing,” McConnell said of Obama’s decision.
Watch part two of our exclusive interview with Sen. Mitch McConnell:
On the one hand, McConnell said, the Obama administration plays venture capitalist by investing taxpayer dollars in a high-risk energy company like Solyndra that lost all of the government’s money and went bankrupt, while refusing to approve the private-sector construction project.
“The most important construction job in America, the Keystone pipeline, would put 20,000 people to work almost immediately,” McConnell said. “It doesn’t require a penny of our tax money all the president has to do is approve it.”
“So that’s their energy program — we’re going to spend money we borrowed from the Chinese, lending money to companies that go broke, and we won’t approve private sector projects which the environmental studies have already been done over the last three years that would have created jobs immediately without a penny,” McConnell said.
Republican sponsored legislation is pending in both the House and the Senate that seeks to bypass the president’s authority to approve the Keystone project. Although Republicans have a clear majority in the House to move their bill, Republicans only control 47 of the 100 Senate seats – three short to impose majority rule. With a Democrat in the White House, Republicans would need 60 votes to overturn a presidential veto.
And with Senate Democrats already blocking dozens of major Republican initiatives including several bills that create other jobs in the energy sector, the prospects are not good the pipeline project will be approved this year.
“They are not interested in governing,” McConnell said.