The U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives passed a bill that would authorize the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada. The pipeline would transport 830,000 barrels per day of Alberta oil sands crude to Gulf Coast refineries. Since it crosses an international border the executive branch must rule that the pipeline is in the national interest before construction can go ahead. Opposition to the pipeline has become a huge symbolic activity for environmental lobbyists and President Obama looks likely to bow to their demands.
In his veto message the president declared:
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.
The Presidential power to veto legislation is one I take seriously. But I also take seriously my responsibility to the American people. And because this act of Congress conflicts with established executive branch procedures and cuts short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest -- including our security, safety, and environment -- it has earned my veto.
In actual fact, the State Department's analyses have found the pipeline to be in the national interest already, but the issue has been sent back for further consideration by the bureaucrats until they come up with the right answer.