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Senate Blocks Keystone Pipeline by One Vote

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Tuesday night, November 18, liberal Democrats in the United States Senate used the filibuster to block a bipartisan bill that would have allowed construction of the Keystone Pipeline XL which would bring crude oil from Canada to the United States for refining.

U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne (R from Montrose) announced the news on Facebook, “BREAKING: The Senate has once again blocked a bill which would allow construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. I am hoping for a much different result under new Senate leadership next year.”

Before the vote on Tuesday, U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R from Alabama) said on Facebook, “Today the Senate is expected to vote on legislation to approve construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. A vote on this job-creating project is long overdue.”

The House passed the bill on Friday, November 14. Congressman Spencer Bachus (R from Vestavia) wrote on Twitter following that vote: “Keystone Pipeline is vital to US energy affordability and security. Voted yes on pipeline today, action needed from Senate and President.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce supported the legislation that would approve the Presidential Permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline.

The Chamber wrote, “The Keystone XL permit request has been under consideration by the Administration since 2008. In the face of continued indecision by the president on this important matter, it is crucial for Congress to act. The pipeline proposal has undergone considerable examination and a thorough and lengthy environmental review. I support this project because it would produce good, high paying jobs, increase supplies of Canadian and American crude to refiners, and further bolster American economic and energy security. With the Gulf Coast segment of the pipeline complete, additional administrative delay of the project is counterproductive to our national interests and will hurt American consumers and industry.”

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After the Senate vote former State Representative Barry Mask (R from Wetumpka) wrote on Facebook, “To the 41 who voted no, thanks for yet again screwing this country over. Pitiful.”

Self described socialist Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont led the opposition. Sen. Sanders told CNN on Monday, “I hope very much that we will not provide the 60 votes.”

Sen. Sanders said, “Well, the scientific community tells us, virtually unanimous accounts, that climate change is real. It’s already causing devastating problems and if we do not transform our energy system away from fossil fuel, this planet is gonna face some serious problems,” said Sanders. “The idea that we would give a green light for the transportation of 800,000 barrels of some of the dirtiest oils all over the world makes no sense to me.”

Radicals in the environmental movement oppose the pipeline even though in January, the State Department released its final environmental impact statement on the proposed pipeline and concluded that the Keystone XL “remains unlikely to significantly impact the rate of extraction in the oil sands, or the continued demand for heavy crude oil at refineries in the United States.”

On Friday, the House of Representatives approved the Keystone measure by a vote of 252 to 161. The whole Alabama delegation including Alabama’s lone Democrat, Representative Terri Sewell voted for the measure to force approval of the 1,660-mile pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada’s tar sands to refineries in Texas.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R from Alabama) said in a statement following President Obama’s controversial decision to reject the permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, “This is a stunning decision at a time when the need for economic growth and job creation could not be greater. It is a huge lost opportunity to create good-paying jobs for middle class Americans without adding to our nation’s enormous debt. President Obama is apparently interested in pursuing jobs only through government spending and not through private sector growth.”

The Keystone XL bill was introduced by Senator Mary Landrieu (D from Louisiana) who faces a tough runoff election against Republican opponent Bill Cassidy in December. The pipeline would create an estimated 20,000 jobs.

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(Original reporting by CNN and the Daily Caller contributed to this report.)

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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