By Laura Barron-Lopez - 12/19/14 03:03 PM EST
President Obama on Friday said building the Keystone oil pipeline would “not even have a nominal benefit” to consumers, pushing back at claims it would lower gas prices further.
Obama stressed that the issue at hand for Keystone is “not American oil, it is Canadian oil.”
“It’s very good for Canadian oil companies, and it’s good for the Canadian oil industry but it’s not going to be a huge benefit to U.S. consumers, it’s not even going to be a nominal benefit to U.S. consumers,” Obama said.
Obama has repeatedly criticized Republicans for demanding approval of the $8 billion oil sands project. A Senate vote in November fell one vote short of sending legislation to Obama's desk. Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellMuslim DNC speaker challenges GOP leaders to call Trump out Peter Thiel does not make the GOP pro-gay Reid: Trump is a 'hateful con man' MORE (R-Ky.) has vowed to make it the first piece of business for a Republican Senate next year.
Obama reiterated that he wants to make sure if the project does go forward it is not add to the “problem of climate change ... which does impose serious costs on American people.”
Asked about McConnell's plans, he said:“I’ll see what they do. We will take that up in the new year.”
With the new GOP majority in the Senate, Republicans are positive they will have more than the 61 votes needed for a filibuster-proof majority to send the pipeline to Obama’s desk.
Whether they have the 67 votes needed to override a veto, however, is in question.
Obama noted litigation in Nebraska needs to wrap up before a decision on the pipeline is made at the federal level. The Nebraska Supreme Court will not rule on the question of who had authority to approve the pipeline’s route through the state until next year.
“Once that is resolved then the State Department will have all the information it needs,” Obama said.
“I think there has been this tendency to really hype this thing as some magic formula to what ails the U.S. economy and it is hard to see on paper where they are getting that information from,” Obama added.