Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Keystone XL bill defeated in the Senate

By Michael O'Brien

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In what may spell the end of Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (R-LA) tenure, the United States Senate Tuesday night failed to pass legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. The final vote tally was 59-41, one vote short of the 60-vote threshold the bill needed to advance.

Twelve Democrats joined Republicans in pushing the House bill which was initiated in the House by Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA). Cassidy and Landrieu face-off in a December 6 run-off election. Landrieu is behind in the polls by double digits and hoped the push for a vote on Keystone would propel her to reelection.

New Senate Majority Mitch McConnell (R-KY) vowed to make passing legislation on the project a priority when the new senate convenes in January.

Opponents of the pipeline quickly declared victory.

“We thank all the senators who voted against this dangerous Keystone legislation, and we’re more confident than ever that this pipeline will never be built,” League of Conservation Voters senior vice president of government affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said. “The decision remains right where it belongs – with President Obama and Secretary Kerry.”

In response to the Senate vote, 350.org Executive Director May Boeve issued the following statement:

“Once again, Congress tried to play games with our future–and failed. Since Keystone XL has always been President Obama’s decision, this vote was never anything more than an empty gesture of political theater.

“Rather than letting Congress continue to pantomime for Big Oil, President Obama should step up and reject this dirty tar sands pipeline once and for all. By dramatically accelerating tar sands oil development, Keystone XL clearly fails President Obama’s own climate test. The pipeline is a lose-lose for everyone except TransCanada. The President has all the information he needs to reject this pipeline now, and we’re going to stand by him to make sure he does.”

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