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Senate Democrats Block Bill To Authorize The Construction Of The Keystone XL Pipeline

Senate Democrats have blocked a bill that would have authorized the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

From the very beginning, the vote was going to be close. The Keystone XL supporters had 59 votes coming into today, and they could not pick up the one additional vote needed to pass the bill.

Landrieu had ten Democratic co-sponsors of her legislation before the vote Sens. Joe Manchin (WV), Kay Hagan (NC), Heidi Heitkamp (NC), Mark Pryor (AR), Claire McCaskill (MO), Jon Tester (MT), Mark Warner (VA), Mark Begich (AK), Joe Donnelly (IN) and John Walsh (MT). Every single one of the Democratic co-sponsors except for Warner was from a red state.

The pro-Keystone XL senators stuck with their bogus claim that the pipeline would help to make the United States energy independent. The Democrats who supported the bill were a collection of lame ducks and senators from oil and gas dependent states.

The Keystone XL opponents like Sen. Bernie Sanders called the construction of the pipeline insane. Sanders said, “The scientific community is telling us that we have a narrow window of opportunity to address the crisis of climate change and to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy. This legislation would move us in exactly the wrong direction toward not only more dependence on fossil fuels but on some of the dirtiest fossil fuel imaginable. That is insane.”

During the debate, incoming Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) spun the Big Oil Keystone myths, “Keystone XL is just common-sense. It’s a shovel-ready jobs project that would help thousands of Americans find work. It would increase our supply of North American energy. And it would do all that with minimal net climate impact. That’s why the American people support it. That’s why Republicans support it. That’s why so many rank-and-file Democrats support it too.”

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) whose Senate seat the Democrats were trying to save with this vote delivered floor remarks that were essentially a last ditch plea for reelection in the runoff.

President Obama would have been faced with an interesting decision if the Senate had passed the bill. The White House had signaled that they would veto the bill, but the administration was playing coy and left their options open before the vote.

Keystone XL is guaranteed to be back on the early agenda after Republicans take over the Senate in January.

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