Wildlife across the U.S. may remain safe for now. The White House confirmed Tuesday that President Barack Obama would not sign legislation proposed by Republican senators that would approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, Reuters reports. The move would be a major win for animals like foxes, sage grouse and whooping cranes, many of whom lay directly in the pipeline's path.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters:
"There is already a well-established process in place to consider whether or not infrastructure projects like this are in the best interest of the country."
The proposed 1,179-mile pipeline would carry about 830,000 barrels of tar sands oil each day from deposits in Canada to Gulf Coast refineries. The new legislation is expected to gain 63 votes in favor in the Senate - enough to pass but not enough to avoid the president's veto. And that veto, according to Earnest, would not go unused:
"If this bill passes this Congress the president wouldn't sign it."
Advocates for American wildlife should rejoice. Several species are expected to take a blow if the pipeline were to go through. According to a 2010 report from the National Wildlife Federation, power line collisions, exposure to oil spills and toxins, and habitat destruction and fragmentation could prove disastrous for the following species: