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House Passes Controversial Keystone XL Pipeline Bill

McClatchy Tribune News Service Politics

House Passes Controversial Keystone XL Pipeline Bill

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By Kurtis Lee And Neela Banerjee, Los Angeles Times (MCT)

The House of Representatives approved construction of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline on Friday. The vote, along with a similar Senate proposal scheduled for a vote Tuesday, foreshadows the first post-election legislative showdown between the White House and Congress.

The Republican-controlled House passed the bill, sponsored by Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), by a 252 to 161 vote. Cassidy is locked in a bitter December runoff election in Louisiana for the seat of Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu.

Cassidy called for a vote on his bill after Landrieu, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, called on the upper chamber to bring a similar bill to a vote. The Senate is expected to vote Tuesday on Landrieu’s bill.

Construction of the pipeline would allow for the transport of oil and tar sands from Canada to refineries in Oklahoma and Texas.

In the days since his party suffered heavy losses in the midterm elections, President Barack Obama has doubled down on his pledge to use his executive powers to act, saying he interpreted the results as voters wanting Washington to emerge from gridlock rather than sending a damning message to Democrats.

The battle over the Keystone XL pipeline has been mired in partisan politics for several years and is shaping up to be a bellwether on the clash over executive authority.

Landrieu and Democrats from energy-producing states, along with Republicans, support the pipeline, while most Democratic lawmakers oppose it. But the vote carries the weight of the Louisiana runoff election. Passing the Landrieu bill would help boost her campaign argument that, even as her state trends farther right, it benefits from her clout in Washington as the top Democrat on the Senate energy panel. And, while control of the Senate is already sure to go to Republicans, neither party wants to lose a seat.

The White House has indicated that it will not budge from its long-standing position that the president makes the final decision on the pipeline that is to carry oil from Canada to Mexico, as the executive branch has done for decades on projects that cross U.S. borders and require so-called presidential permits.

The administration has put a review of the pipeline on hold while it awaits the results of a lawsuit in Nebraska over the pipeline’s route. Obama has said he will consider granting the permit only after those steps are completed. “I’ve been clear in the past … and my position hasn’t changed, that this is a process that is supposed to be followed,” he said at a news conference Friday in Myanmar, asking Congress not to “short-circuit” the protracted review process.

Earlier in the week, White House spokesman Josh Earnest went further: “In evaluating those earlier proposals, we have indicated that the president’s senior advisers at the White House would recommend that he veto legislation like that.”

Obama has said he will sign legislation that allows for the building of the pipeline only if governmental studies show its construction will not lead to enhanced greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Friday’s vote comes in the same week the United States and China announced an ambitious agreement on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards

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4 Comments

  1. coffeeHouse1982 November 16, 2014

    In March 2009, the Prince of Wales issued the (false) prophecy that the world had only eight years to avert ecosystem collapse due to man-made global-warming.

    Reply
    1. Sand_Cat November 16, 2014

      Okay, we realize you’re a little out of it.

      Reply
  2. Dominick Vila November 16, 2014

    I hope President Obama vetoes this bill. There is no compelling benefit to the USA associated with this bill. Transporting highly corrosive tar sand crude from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico for export to countries like China helps Trans-Canada, the Koch brothers, and whomever buys the oil.
    I think it is downright embarrassing to risk the future of our environment because a couple of billionaires want to accumulate more wealth, and because the people of Canada refuse to go along with the construction of that pipeline to their Pacific coastline because of the risk it represents to their environment. And here we are, prostituting ourselves for a few jobs and a few bucks. Shame on those who are pushing this bill through and putting our country at risk to help their wealthy political donors.
    No compromise on this. No quid pro quo involving the Keystone Vs the ACA.

    Reply
  3. Justin Napolitano November 18, 2014

    Here is count of the amount of leaks from existing pipelines in Alberto Canada in just the last month.

    Oct 3, 2014 – Canadian Natural Resources Limited – 11Km East of Delia – 10,000 litres of Crude oil
    Oct 5, 2014 – Nexen Energy ULC – 2.5Km SouthWest of Kinosis – 5,800 litres of Toxic water
    Oct 5, 2014 – Cenovus Energy Inc – 56Km East of Brooks – 9,800 litres of Toxic water
    Oct 5, 2014 – Nexen Energy ULC – 41Km SouthEast of Ft. McMurray – 13,000 litres of Condensate
    Oct 10, 2014 – Husky Oil – 30Km SouthEast of Vermilion – 50,000 litres of Crude oil and 25,000 litres of toxic water
    Oct 13, 2014 – Arc Resources – 5Km North of Redwater – 150,000 litres of Toxic water
    Oct 11, 2014 – TAQA North Ltd – 44Km SouthWest of Spirit River – 24,000 litres of Crude oil
    Oct 14, 2014 – Whitecap Resources Inc – 37Km NorthWest of Sexsmith – 10,000 litres of Toxic water
    Oct 15, 2014 – Penn West Petroleum Ltd -14Km SouthEast of Slave Lake – 52,000 litres Crude oil
    Oct 14, 2014 – Zargon Oil & Gas Ltd – 26Km NorthWest of Vauxhall – 8,000 litres of Toxic water
    Oct 17, 2014 – TAQA North Ltd – 32Km NorthWest of Rocky Mountain House – 18,000 litres of Toxic water
    Oct 21, 2014 – Harvest Operations Corp – 20Km East of Galahad – 200,000 litres of Toxic water
    Oct 26, 2014 – Apache Canada Ltd -9Km East of Zama City – 50,000 litres of Toxic water
    Total = Over 625,000 Litres of toxic crap spilled in Alberta for just the month of October and not one Mainstream media reports about it.
    Here is count of the amount of leaks from existing pipelines in Alberto Canada in just the last month.

    Oct 3, 2014 – Canadian Natural Resources Limited – 11Km East of Delia – 10,000 litres of Crude oil
    Oct 5, 2014 – Nexen Energy ULC – 2.5Km SouthWest of Kinosis – 5,800 litres of Toxic water
    Oct 5, 2014 – Cenovus Energy Inc – 56Km East of Brooks – 9,800 litres of Toxic water
    Oct 5, 2014 – Nexen Energy ULC – 41Km SouthEast of Ft. McMurray – 13,000 litres of Condensate
    Oct 10, 2014 – Husky Oil – 30Km SouthEast of Vermilion – 50,000 litres of Crude oil and 25,000 litres of toxic water
    Oct 13, 2014 – Arc Resources – 5Km North of Redwater – 150,000 litres of Toxic water
    Oct 11, 2014 – TAQA North Ltd – 44Km SouthWest of Spirit River – 24,000 litres of Crude oil
    Oct 14, 2014 – Whitecap Resources Inc – 37Km NorthWest of Sexsmith – 10,000 litres of Toxic water
    Oct 15, 2014 – Penn West Petroleum Ltd -14Km SouthEast of Slave Lake – 52,000 litres Crude oil
    Oct 14, 2014 – Zargon Oil & Gas Ltd – 26Km NorthWest of Vauxhall – 8,000 litres of Toxic water
    Oct 17, 2014 – TAQA North Ltd – 32Km NorthWest of Rocky Mountain House – 18,000 litres of Toxic water
    Oct 21, 2014 – Harvest Operations Corp – 20Km East of Galahad – 200,000 litres of Toxic water
    Oct 26, 2014 – Apache Canada Ltd -9Km East of Zama City – 50,000 litres of Toxic water
    Total = Over 625,000 Litres of toxic crap spilled in Alberta for just the month of October and not one Mainstream media reports about it.

    The XL in the XL pipeline stands for Xtra Leaks. We need the XL pipeline like we need another Exxon Valdez disaster.

    Reply

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