Washington: In a rarest of the rare move, US President Barack Obama has vetoed a legislation authorising construction of the cross-country Keystone XL oil pipeline, a move that made Republicans furious.
The 1,900-kilometre pipeline, to be built between Canada and the US, will transport crude from energy-rich Alberta province to a network of pipelines that reach across the US to the shores of the Gulf of Mexico.
This is only for the third time in his more than six year old presidency that Obama used his veto power and for the first time on a major legislation yesterday.
"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 in his veto statement.
"The presidential power to veto is one I take seriously ... 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," Obama said.
John Boehner, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, called it a national embarrassment.
"The president's veto of the Keystone jobs bill is a national embarrassment. It's embarrassing when Russia and China are plowing ahead on two massive pipelines and we can't get this one no-brainer of a project off the ground," he said.
"The President is just too close to environmental extremists to stand up for America's workers. He's too invested in left-fringe politics to do what presidents are called on to do, and that's put the national interest first," Boehner said.
Expressing his disappointment, Senator John McCain said it sent a negative signal about Obama's willingness to work with Congress on important legislation over the final two years of his presidency.
"This bipartisan legislation that the President has rejected would create good-paying jobs for hardworking citizens, enable our country to increase its domestic energy supply and become more energy independent, and invest billions in the economy," he said.
"With his pen today, President Obama has said 'no' to energy and jobs for American families. The President should have listened to his own State Department, which determined that the pipeline's construction and operation is environmentally safe," Congressman, Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said.