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Keystone XL Passes Senate – President Promises Veto

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse presents his climate change amendment to Keystone XL Act. (Photo and video courtesy C-SPAN)

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse presents his climate change amendment to Keystone XL Act. (Photo and video courtesy C-SPAN)

Washington, D.C. – In a 62-36 vote that surprised no one, Senate Republicans on Thursday passed the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline Act (S.1.), sending the bill on to President Barack Obama, who already promised its veto.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) opposed the tar sand pipeline approval as environmentally unsound and remiss in consciousness of climate change action.

“Now that we have burned through three weeks of the Senate’s time, Senate Republicans have succeeded in passing their first piece of legislation: a gift for Big Oil that the President has already said he will veto,” said Whitehouse in a statement on Thursday.

“I’m glad the President will veto this bill because the Keystone XL pipeline would be a disaster for our health and environment – enabling expanded development of one of the dirtiest fuels on the planet and exacerbating climate change.  I hope we can now put this debate behind us and move on to more serious legislative efforts to address the major issues facing our country,” he said.

Don’t argue jobs creation

The bill’s passage, the number one priority for the GOP majority, had Senators on both sides of the aisle debating its merits and offering a multitude of amendments in a weeks-long marathon of sessions lasting from morning opening remarks long into the evening.

“Every four days we add more jobs than the construction of this pipeline just through the economic recovery that’s taking place. And it is a little bit hard to explain except, particularly when you think that this bill’s going to be dead on arrival at the White House. ~ Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse

State Department and President agree on veto

The Whitehouse responded in a statement from President Barack Obama, the nation’s number one advocate for climate change action and resiliency planning.

Earlier today, I received the Secretary of State’s recommendation on the pending application for the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.  As the State Department made clear last month, the rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment.  As a result, the Secretary of State has recommended that the application be denied.  And after reviewing the State Department’s report, I agree.  ~ President Barack Obama

Whitehouse in his 87th consecutive week of urging his colleagues to act on Climate Change said, “We’ve had an interesting couple of weeks on the Keystone Pipeline, but from a climate change and carbon pollution point of view, this would obviously not be helpful. Indeed, it would be a disaster leading to as much as 27 million – 27 million metric tons of additional carbon dioxide emitted per year.”

Commonwealth says no to Keystone XL

Keystone XL received staunch opposition from a number of New England Democrats including Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) of Massachusetts.

Addressing the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources earlier in the month, Warren questioned the Republican urgency.

“It’s not about jobs, it’s not about  energy. Why is this bill so urgent? The answer is money – money and power,” said Warren.

Warren’s counterpart in the commonwealth, Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA), a green energy proponent and co-author of the American Clean Energy and Security Act, released this statement after the vote.

“The media circus surrounding the Super Bowl has nothing on this over-inflated Senate debate on Canadian export pipeline legislation that will never be signed into law. Senate Republicans should take a page from Marshawn Lynch’s playbook and just say ‘you know why I’m here,’ which is to start off their leadership in the Senate with a meaningless tip of their cap to Big Oil.”

“Hopefully now that this Keystone Kabuki theater is over, we can move on to passing legislation that will help middle class American families and make America more energy secure, instead of pushing policies that would encourage exporting more North American oil and worsen climate change.

“Go Pats.”


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