Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Keystone XL Pipeline bill narrowly defeated in Senate; GOP expects bill to pass in 2015

The Democratic-led Senate narrowly defeated a bill that would have approved construction of the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline, but Republicans pledge to continue the fight when the GOP gains control of the Senate in 2015, Ashley Parker and Coral Davenport report for The New York Times. The bill, which needed 60 votes to pass, lost by a count of 59 to 41, with all 45 Republicans voting in favor. Of the 14 Democrats who voted in favor of the bill, at least 10 will remain in office, while a Dec. 6 run-off will determine whether the bill's co-sponsor Sen. Mary L. Landrieu (D-La.) will return.

Recently elected Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-K) "said that he would immediately bring up a Keystone bill when the new Senate convenes," Parker and Davenport writes. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) who is poised to replace Landrieu as head of the Senate Energy Committee, told the Times, “For so many good reasons, we’ll be back with this after the first of the year. And I believe that the momentum we’ve gained means we’ll see progress and see this bill passed.” (NYT map)

If the bill had passed, President Obama "was widely expected to veto it, a power he has used only three times during his six years in office," Timothy Gardner and Susan Cornwell report for Reuters. "Obama raised new questions about the project during a trip to Asia late last week, saying it would not lower gas prices for U.S. drivers but would allow Canada to 'pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the Gulf, where it will be sold everywhere else.'"

But Senate Republicans predicted that the bill would have at least 63 supporters next year and would be able to reach the 67 votes necessary to avoid presidential veto, Gardner and Cornwell write.

Sen. John Thune (R-SD) "said the property tax revenue that will come in from building the pipeline will help sustain rural counties and school districts and potentially alleviate transportation snafus that are hurting farmers in his home state" and will create 40,000 jobs, reports Agri-Pulse, a Washington newsletter. Opponents say the project "would increase pollution and pose a threat to environmentally sensitive lands" by transporting 800,000 barrels of oil each day from Alberta to Nebraska. Agri-Pulse is subscription only, but a free trial is available by clicking here.

Democratic Senators who voted in favor of the pipeline are: Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Landrieu, Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), John Walsh (D-Mont.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.).

No comments: