WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- The U.S. Senate approved the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline 62-36 Thursday, defying a promise by President Obama to veto the bill.
Nine Democrats voted in favor of Keystone, but the bill still does not have enough support to override a presidential veto.
The House passed a similar bill recently. But its members must decide whether to merge the two bills or to vote on the Senate measure.
The Senate bill includes an amendment aimed at protecting private property, U.S. Sen.Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., said in a statement. He said Keystone "will help grow our economy and create tens of thousands of jobs."
"And with the change in Senate leadership the Keystone bill was considered in an open process with senators from both parties being allowed by the new majority leader to offer amendments," Enzi said. "We were able to vote on more amendments on this single bill than we voted on in all 2014."
Keystone, first proposed by TransCanada six years ago, would carry Canadian crude oil to the United States, to terminals in Houston and Port Arthur in Texas, and southern Illinois. Most of the sytem has been completed, but the Keystone XL between Alberta and Steele City, Neb., is still in the planning stages.
Environmentalists have been fighting the pipeline.
Earlier this week, Dan McFadyen, an energy expert at the University of Calgary, said Canada might benefit more from pipelines to its own ports on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts that would allow it to sell oil more easily to countries other than the United States, currently the destination of most of the country's output.