One vote. That’s all the U.S. Senate needed to pass a bill to approve construction of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline. The vote was held Nov. 18, less than a week after the U.S. House of Representatives approved an identical bill by a vote of 252-161 on Nov. 14.
Despite an overwhelming Republican victory in the recent midterm elections, the Senate’s current makeup could not gather the 60-vote majority needed to withstand filibuster. President Barack Obama also could have vetoed the measure.
API president and CEO Jack Gerard said the Senate’s failure to pass legislation to build the Keystone XL pipeline showed a few politicians ignored the message voters sent on Election Day and stood in the way of a large bipartisan effort to approve the bill he said supports jobs and energy security.
“A handful of Senators blocked a long overdue decision on [Keystone XL] defying the will of the American people,” he said. “Instead of seizing a rare bipartisan opportunity to help American workers and strengthen our energy security, a few Senators returned to politics as usual. This is not what the electorate voted for two weeks ago and it doesn’t bode well for future bipartisanship.”
Gerard added that the oil and gas pipeline industry will continue to push to get the project built.
“Keystone XL is not going away, the president will have to deal with it, if not now then next year,” he said. “We will work with the new Congress to focus on getting this important jobs project approved. We will not give up until the pipeline is built.”
The Keystone XL pipeline is a proposed 1,179-mile, 36-in. diameter crude oil pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta, to Steele City, Nebraska. The pipeline provides critical infrastructure to transport crude oil from Canada, as well as allowing U.S. oil producers more access to the large refining markets in the Midwest and along the Gulf Coast.
TransCanada president and CEO Russ Girling said public opinion is swaying in favor of passing a Keystone bill in the future, citing a recent polls that showed two-thirds of Americans approve of the project. He stressed that the Senate vote, despite failing, showed growing support for the project in Congress.
“Senators Mary Landrieu and John Hoeven are to be commended for leading a bipartisan coalition in support of a legislative solution to the protracted regulatory process Keystone XL has languished in for six years,” Girling said. “This $8 billion infrastructure project will improve American energy security, minimize the environmental impacts of transporting Canadian and American crude oil to U.S. refineries and support 42,000 jobs. We will continue to push for reason over gridlock, common sense over symbolism and solid science over rhetoric to approve Keystone XL and unlock its benefits for America.”Tags: API, Keystone XL, KXL, TransCanada, vote