Obama to let Keystone XL review continue

President Barack Obama said Wednesday he won't shortcut the ongoing State Department review of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline project, minutes after incoming Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said it would be among energy bills he would attempt to pass.

"There's an independent process, it's moving forward, and I'm going to let that process play out," Obama said at his post-election press conference. "I'm just going to gather up the facts."

Obama said he will still evaluate the project on a number of factors, including its impact on global warming and the outcome of a court case in Nebraska. He did not say, however, whether he would veto an approval bill sent to him by congressional Republicans. 

McConnell, R-Ky., earlier Wednesday included the estimated $8 billion project in energy bills he said the new Senate Republican majority will send to Obama in the next Congress. 

GE purchase of Alstom energy unit wins French nod

The New York Times

General Electric’s purchase of Alstom’s energy business for $13.5 billion got official approval from the French government Wednesday, The New York Times reports.

High court sympathy for beleaguered fisherman

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Wednesday appeared sympathetic to a Florida fisherman who says the government went overboard in prosecuting him for throwing undersized grouper off his boat.

But the justices seemed to struggle over how to limit the reach of a law meant to tackle corporate fraud in the wake of the Enron accounting scandal — not to dole out punishment over some discarded fish.

$13B in state/local conservation measures pass

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Election Day was not just about the Republican landslide: Voters in states and counties across the nation supported about $13 billion in conservation funding.

That amount was a record for money approved at the ballot box on Tuesday, according to the Trust for Public Land, which has been tracking such environmental initiatives for more than 25 years.

US, France cite concerns about Iran nuclear talks

PARIS (AP) — With time running out on the latest round of negotiations, France and the United States on Wednesday stepped up demands for Iran to prove that its nuclear program is peaceful — or risk scuttling the closest chance for a deal in years and losing a chance to ease crippling sanctions on Tehran's economy.

The entreaty to Tehran comes days before Secretary of State John Kerry is to meet with top diplomats to Iran and the European Union on how to break the years-long deadlock before a Nov. 24 deadline.

Brazil: Rich nations must reduce carbon emissions

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil's environment minister said Wednesday that her nation will be a protagonist at an upcoming climate change conference in Peru and will hold developed nations accountable for strong commitments to reduce carbon emissions.

Minister Izabella Teixeira said she wants developed nations like the United States to detail their plans to reduce carbon emissions at the next round of global negotiations set to take place next month in Lima, Peru.

Texas energy group asks court to halt fracking ban

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A North Texas city that sits atop a natural gas reserve is preparing for an extended court battle after voters made it the first in the state to ban further hydraulic fracturing — a fight that cities nationwide considering similar laws will likely be watching closely.

An industry group and the state's little-known but powerful General Land Office responded quickly to the measure Denton approved Tuesday night, seeking an injunction in District Court to stop it from being enforced.

Associated Press

Energy legislation to come to Senate floor, McConnell says

The incoming Senate majority leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Wednesday that he will bring energy legislation to the floor in the next Congress, including the Keystone XL pipeline.

"We will certainly be voting on things as well that the (Obama) administration is not fond of," McConnell said at his first post-election press conference. "They seem to have had no interest for example in doing anything serious on the energy front. We haven't had an energy bill in seven years."

McConnell made it clear that he will push the Keystone XL project and other legislation to expand fossil fuel development and production.

"When you say energy these days people think of the Keystone pipeline, but that's only part of it. We need to embrace the energy revolution that's going on in our country,  promote it, (it's) hugely advantageous to America, not only in the area of energy independence but employment.

"I mean, the employment figures connected with Keystone are stunning, if we would just get going," he added.

McConnell spoke minutes before President Barack Obama was to hold his own press conference on the election results, which saw Democrats lose their Senate majority and lose additional seats in the Republican-led House.

Analysis: Wins give GOP wider Washington influence

WASHINGTON (AP) — With sweeping victories that exceeded their own sky-high expectations, the GOP has dealt President Barack Obama and Democrats the most devastating electoral defeat of his presidency. Their prize is full control of Congress, and with it, the power to shape the direction of America's government in the next two years.

Both parties talked Tuesday about need to compromise, but they will face tough obstacles in following through. The list is long: the already looming 2016 elections, persistent divisions within the Republican Party, and the frosty relationship between Obama and Sen. Mitch McConnell, who won re-election in Kentucky and is likely to ascend to majority leader.

5 things to know about next Senate majority leader

WASHINGTON (AP) — Five things to know about Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who is certain to become Senate majority leader when the new Congress meets in January:


McConnell has said he wants to use must-pass spending bills to force showdowns with President Barack Obama over his health care overhaul, environmental regulations and other issues. He has said there may be room for compromise with Obama over tax laws and a trade accord with Asian nations.

He has also said he wants to give senators a freer hand in legislating than they've had in recent years under Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who has kept tight controls over amendments as the two parties accused each other of political posturing.


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