Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is threatening to gather enough votes to override President Barack Obama's veto and push forward with the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline project.
And she tells USA Today
the long-delayed decision on the pipe that would take oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast has now taken five years — longer than American involvement in World War II.
"The Keystone Pipeline decision has taken longer than it took us to defeat Hitler," the North Dakotan said. "There's just something wrong with this process."
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Heitkamp says environmentalists have painted Obama into a corner over the project, and now she's ready to challenge him.
The president is "having a very difficult time to find a real, factual, legal reason to deny the permit," she claimed. "We know that we have the votes here in the Senate; we certainly have the votes in the House. In fact, I think we could build enough votes to override a veto."
But Heitkamp said she won't join those who want to use the pipeline to leverage last-minute negotiations over government funding as the Oct. 1 government funding deadline approaches.
The five-year anniversary of the application by TransCanada to build the pipeline passed last week, giving new momentum to supporters. GOP Rep. Lee Terry of Nebraska told Newsmax
he is offering his own bill to "deem the pipeline approved."
"Nothing has changed because our president refuses to say yes or no on whether to go ahead with the pipeline," Terry said this week. "In the process, we are missing a major opportunity to make America energy-secure."
Terry and other Keystone backers point out that since the original permits were filed, Obama has approved another cross-border pipeline that delivers crude oil from Canada to Superior, Wis.
But Obama "got himself painted into the corner" by the pipeline's opponents, says Heitkamp. Environmentalists claim building the pipeline and extracting oil from Alberta will cause serious environmental damage, while supporters say the pipeline will both create jobs and enhance the United States' energy independence.
Meanwhile, 65 percent of Americans favor building the pipeline, a Pew Research poll
Even if Obama ends up denying the pipeline, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said during a visit to New York City
, Thursday that he "won't take no for an answer."
The pipeline isn't the only area where the Democratic senator disagrees with the Obama administration. She also opposes Environmental Protection Agency regulations limiting emissions in new power plants, saying they show an "irrational dislike of coal."
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