Senate Rejects Keystone XL By Narrow Vote

An amendment by Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) to force immediate approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline failed to get the 60 votes it needed, on a 56-42 vote. Democrats Max Baucus (MT), Begich (AK), Casey (PA), Conrad (ND), Hagan (NC), Landrieu (LA), Manchin (WV), McCaskill (MO), Pryor (AR), Tester (MT), and Webb (VA) voted with Senate Republicans to strip authority for the pipeline’s approval from the president of the United States. Despite the intensity of climate activism in the region, New England Republicans Ayotte (NH), Brown (MA), Collins (ME), and Snowe (ME) stayed with the Republican bloc in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline. The amendment was attached to the unrelated highway funding bill.

Moments earlier, Republicans killed an amendment that would have approved the pipeline if it used American steel and kept the oil for American use.

UPDATE‘s Bill McKibben responds:

Today’s vote was a temporary victory and there’s no guarantee that it holds for the long run. But given that this thing was a ‘no brainer’ a year ago, it’s pretty remarkable that people power was able to keep working, even in the oil-soaked Senate. We’re grateful to the Administration for denying the permit and for Senate leadership for holding the line.

The reason this fight has been so hard is because of the financial power of the fossil fuel industry, so that’s what we’re going after now. We’ve been playing defense for months, now we’ve got to quickly go on offense. Going forward, we’ll be working with the huge majorities of Americans who want to end subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. We’ve learned a lot, not all of it savory, about how the political process works and we’re going to put that to use.

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