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Pickens: "We'll Get 67 Votes" To Override Keystone Veto

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/1080 KRLD/AP) -- The U.S. Senate will likely vote next week on the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, setting up a potential showdown between Republicans and President Barack Obama. Businessman T. Boone Pickens thinks the President will veto the measure.

The 1,179-mile Canada-to-Texas pipeline is expected to be approved by a GOP-controlled Senate. The bill would then be placed on President Obama's desk for approval.

"This goofball President of ours -- goofball is what I use...I mean this guy is strange -- he's going to veto it," said Pickens in Dallas on Tuesday. "Then you're going to have to have 67 votes to override the veto. I think we'll get 67 votes."

Newsradio 1080 KRLD's Business Analyst David Johnson interviewed Pickens on the CEO Spotlight Series on Tuesday. Watch The Entire Interview here

Legislation approving construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline cleared an initial Senate hurdle Monday, a victory for newly empowered Republicans angling for a quick veto showdown with President Barack Obama.

The bipartisan 63-32 vote was three more than the 60 required, and well above the level the measure ever gained in recent years when Democrats controlled the Senate.

The measure has sparked debate over the Canada-to-Texas pipeline's potential impact on employment and the environment. While the project was proposed six years ago, the White House opposes the legislation as long as the administration is still conducting its formal review.

But with more than enough votes at their command, Republican and Democratic supporters said they hoped the legislation could win final approval and be sent to the White House by the end of next week.

The proposed 1,179-mile pipeline would begin in Canada, enter the United States at Morgan, Montana, cut across South Dakota and connect with an existing pipeline in Steele City, Nebraska, that in turn reaches refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast. It would carry an estimated 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day.

The White House has repeatedly threatened a veto. If Obama follows through, it will become the first of what are expected to be numerous clashes with the Republican majorities now in control of both houses of Congress.

Pickens On Oil Prices

Pickens also weighed in on the price of oil and where he thinks the market is going.

"You haven't asked me so I'll volunteer... when does the price of oil go back up to - say - ninety dollars? I think you're 12 to 18 months away from it," Pickens told Johnson.

Pickens went on to say that oil inventories are going to increase to all-time highs in the first quarter of 2015 forcing a reduction in production from oil wells that are in shale.

As the market price of oil decreases, the cost to get that oil becomes more of a burden on oil producers. Many companies take that production off line.

"Things are going to turn around because you're going to shut down enough rigs." Pickens said that when production decreases, the surplus inventories will be used over time and people should expect to see a rebound in oil prices in about a year and a half.

President Obama's Energy Policy

Pickens also related a conversation he had with President Obama back when he was still a senator from Illinois. Pickens said he was given "20 minutes" to tell then Senator Obama "everything he knows about energy." Pickens said, "I'll give her a go."

Obama asked Pickens if there is anything he says about energy that makes him uncomfortable. Pickens said he responded, "I tell you what Senator, you say some things that make me laugh." Pickens said that then Sen. Obama got up out of his chair and pointed his finger in his face and said, "Let me tell you something. When I tell somebody I can do something, or I tell somebody I'm going to do something, I do it."

"I'm not big on Senators... they don't scare me at all," said Pickens. He said he went on to describe to Obama what he thought about his policy at the time - specifically - about a promise to have "one million plug-in hybrids" in ten years, in America. He pointed out that with 250 million cars in America, one million hybrid cars isn't that much. "Before you're president, you need to learn a lot more about energy," Pickens said he told Obama.

Pickens On Greed

T. Boone Pickens does not believe that the Saudis are the cause of the drop in oil prices. "We're the only country in the world today that has added oil production, so I don't want anybody getting up and saying the Saudis did it to us. No, We did it to ourselves."

KRLD AM's David Johnson said to Pickens, "So we did it to ourselves in a positive sense. Was it greed -- this over-production -- or is it the technology that's done this?" Pickens responded:

"You know, greed to me is hard to explain." He went on to say, "You're out there trying to make money... that's why we're all in business. I still remember one time I was testifying in front of some congressional committee and somebody said something about being greedy. I said, 'you tell me what greedy is.' 'Well you like to make money.' I said, 'Hey, you show me a business that went in business to lose money. There are none of those?' And you don't go into business to break even."

KRLD AM's David Johnson CEO Spotlight runs on News Radio 1080 KRLD and

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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