Thursday, January 29, 2015

Senate Passes Keystone XL Pipeline Bill

Now that the Republicans have made good on their pledge to pass legislation supporting the Keystone XL, President Obama can honor his promise and veto it. The bill to circumvent the Obama administration's review of the KXL passed on January 29 with 62 votes in favor and 36 opposed. That is five votes shy of the number needed to override a Presidential veto. All 53 Republicans supported the bill as did nine Democrats.

The GOP is well known for their support of the fossil fuel industry. The pretext Republicans used to argue in favor of the KXL concerns false assertions about thousands of jobs. The truth is that there will be between 30 and 40 full time jobs associated with the multi-billion dollar pipeline.

While Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell said that the pipeline would pump "billions" of dollars to help the middle class, President Obama has stated that the main beneficiary will be TransCanada, the company positioned to build the KXL.

None of the Republican Senators addressed the massive climate change causing carbon load that would be generated by the 800,000 barrel per day pipeline.

Lisa Murkowski, the chair of the energy committee knows that oil pipelines inevitably leak, so she included an amendment in the bill that would set up an oil spill fund.

The House of Representatives has already voted (nine times) to approve the KXL. The President is expected to make a final decision soon as the State Department has given a February 2 deadline for federal agencies to provide their assessments.

If the President honors his commitment to veto the legislation, Republicans can be expected to try other means of forcing Keystone on the nation. This will likely include attaching it to a spending bill later in the year.

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