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OVERNIGHT ENERGY: White House would ‘consider’ Keystone bill

TO VETO OR NOT TO VETO?: That is the question. And White House press secretary Josh Earnest sidestepped it when asked on Thursday if the president would veto a bill approving construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

When the GOP steamrolled into the majority on Tuesday night, the party picked up seven seats (and counting), which brought the number of Keystone supporters in the Senate to 61.

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That’s a filibuster-proof majority and all but guarantees a bill approving construction of the pipeline will be headed for President Obama’s desk sometime early next year.

Earnest said of a possible Keystone measure: “We’ll consider any sort of proposals that are passed by Congress, including a rider like this, that, you’re right, does seem to pretty directly contradict the position that’s been adopted by this administration.”

But he also stressed that the administration was “committed” to the “firmly established precedent” for the pipeline, referencing the ongoing process at the State Department.

Obama also weighed in on that process on Wednesday, and appeared to downplay the significance of the $5.4 billion project.

Read more on Earnest's comments here, and Obama's here.

ON TAP FRIDAY: The World Affairs Council will host a discussion on the future of energy, and climate change impacts on food and water.

NEWS BITE:

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiTrump impeachment trial to begin week of Feb. 8 Murkowski didn't vote for Trump, won't join Democrats Trump impeachment article being sent to Senate Monday MORE (R-Alaska) was quite happy to hear Tuesday night that Republicans had taken control of the Senate. Murkowski, due to become the next chairwoman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, hoisted a chair above her head and screamed “I am the chair—maaaaaaan,” NPR reports.

Alaska Dispatch News has the photo, NPR has the audio.

Read more about Murkowski’s role leading the Energy panel here.

AROUND THE WEB:

The Justice Department and multiple states have subpoenaed natural gas driller Chesapeake Energy Corp. over allegations that it underpaid royalties to landowners, NPR reports.

Canada-based fertilizer producer Potash Corp. agreed to pay the Environmental Protection Agency $1.2 million and spend more than $52 million on plant improvements to settle Clean Air Act claims, Reuters reports.

The owner of a coal mine in New Zealand is being sharply criticized for its decision not to reenter the mine to retrieve the bodies of 29 workers killed in an explosion four years ago, the Associated Press reports.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Thursday’s stories...

- House Dem wants answers after ‘tainted’ BP investigation
- Court affirms BP responsibility for oil spill penalties
- Coal stockpiles at power plants have decreased in recent years
- White House would ‘consider’ Keystone bill
- House to vote on EPA ’secret science’ bills
- Greens: Obama won’t be cowed by anti-environmental riders
- Nukes getting second-to-last cyber check
- Feds: More fuel efficient cars available in 2015
- EPA delays emissions rule for farmers
- Groups press new GOP majority to reject wind tax credits
- Election brings carbon tax closer to Oregon
- Brazil wants richer countries to step up on climate
- Murkowski: ‘We must address’ warming in Alaska 

Please send tips and comments to Laura Barron-Lopez, laurab@thehill.com, and Timothy Cama, tcama@thehill.com.

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