With House approval, Keystone XL legislation is gaining political allies. What's next for the controversial bill?

The Keystone XL Pipeline legislation could be moving to President Barack Obama’s desk in the near future after the U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve the pipeline on Nov. 14.

With 31 Democrats joining Republicans, the measure passed 252-161. It was the ninth attempt by the House to pass the legislature.

The Senate is expected to vote on an identical bill on Tuesday. Nov. 18. The bill has 56 co-sponsors, including all 45 GOP senators and 11 Democrats. It is not clear if the bill has the 60 votes needed for massage, but co-sponsors say they are confident they can convince four additional Democrats to join.

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The pipeline will start in Canada and go through Montana and South Dakota to Nebraska. The 1,179-mile project would connect with existing pipelines to carry more than 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day to refineries along the Gulf Coast.

Politics, environmental reviews and objections to the route have stalled the project for six years. The White House has threatened to veto similar attempts to push the pipeline forward.

Obama told reporters on Nov. 14 that he hasn’t changed his position on the project and he still wants the review process to run its course.

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“I don’t think we should short-circuit that process,” Obama said, adding that the administration thinks the pipeline should be judged on whether it accelerates climate change.

The legislation could land on the president’s desk if the Senate passes it this week, which appears likely.

That would force Obama to either sign it or veto it.

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Supporters of the pipeline say it will create jobs and could even help ease the number of crude-by-rail and truck shipments.

“Thousands more Americans would be working today if President Obama had put their priorities ahead of his political interests and approved the Keystone pipeline,” House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement after Friday’s vote. “Instead he continues to block the project, and the new jobs, lower costs and increased energy security it would provide.”

Opponents to the project are concerned about potential spills. However, the State Department said in a report on Jan. 31 that transporting crude oil by rail or truck would cause greater environmental hazards than if the Keystone XL pipeline were built.

This is going to be a back-and-forth fight until the bitter end, but maybe the end is finally in sight.

How would you benefit if the Keystone XL Pipeline is approved?

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