The Senate voted Wednesday to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which aims to bring Canadian oil to the Gulf of Mexico coast.

The proposed pipeline has been in limbo for six years with the Obama administration punting and playing games rather than taking a side.

There is some urgency at the moment because Louisiana Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu is locked in a tight runoff race for December. Her state would benefit from the pipeline and she has long aimed to have it approved but her association with Obama has become a liability.

There’s some mistaken belief that this vote would be final. It’s not. It would be sent to the President and Obama could veto it.

There has been no signal from the White House but a veto is highly likely. Afterwards it would head back to Congress and two-thirds of the House and Senate would be needed to override the veto. That’s also unlikely, especially before the Republican-led Senate takes over in January.

However, Democrats may decide to start aggressively distancing themselves from Obama and holding Landrieu’s seat for another 6 years could be enough for many Democratic Senators to cast a vote against Obama.

Keystone pipeline cartoon