Legislation to authorize the beginning of construction on the $3.3-billion Keystone XL pipeline has cleared the House and Senate. But project advocates' victory may be short-lived: President Obama has vowed to veto the bill when it reaches his desk.

Pro-Keystone lawmakers held a signing ceremony Feb. 13 but said they would delay sending the bill to Obama until after the Presidents Day recess. The Senate passed the measure on Jan. 29, after adding energy-efficiency provisions; the House approved the bill on Feb. 11. The margin in each chamber fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto.

Pipeline advocates are pressing Obama to sign the bill, which aims to get construction started on the project. The pipeline, proposed by Calgary, Alberta-based TransCanada Corp., would transport tar-sands oil from Hardisty, Alberta, through Steele City, Neb.

But project proponents are expecting a veto and are looking for alternative legislative vehicles to move the pipeline forward. American Council of Engineering Companies President and CEO David Raymond said, "Even if this bill does not have enough in it to gain the president's approval, hopefully Congress at some point will offer a broader measure that includes Keystone that will have a realistic chance for passage."