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Senate Gone Wild: Vote To Approve Keystone Passes, Decision Still Lies With White House

By Ryan Koronowski and Tiffany Germain, Guest Contributor on March 22, 2013 at 7:33 pm

"Senate Gone Wild: Vote To Approve Keystone Passes, Decision Still Lies With White House"

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Tonight, 62 Senators voted for an amendment to the Fiscal 2014 Budget Resolution that attempts to give Congress the power to approve the Keystone pipeline. This is despite the fact that the pipeline would do nothing to make the country more energy independent, and would create far fewer jobs than its supporters claim.

While some conservatives may claim the pipeline would create “more than 20,000 direct jobs,” the most recent State Department impact assessment found that the pipeline would directly create only “3,900″ temporary construction jobs. After construction is complete, the operation of the pipeline would only support 35 permanent and 15 temporary jobs, with “negligible socioeconomic impacts.” Moreover, only 10 percent of the total workforce would be hired locally. For perspective, our country had 3.4 million green energy jobs in 2011 and it was the fastest-growing industry in the country.

The State Department’s report also made clear that at least some of the Keystone oil will be refined and then exported, in response “to lower domestic gasoline demand and continued higher demand and prices in overseas markets.” This means the pipeline adds nothing to U.S. energy security, a key talking point used by proponents. It also means that the pipeline is a way for the industry to get access to steeper oil prices in foreign markets. So why the intense push in the U.S. Senate to get this project approved?

Perhaps it has something to do with campaign contributions from the oil industry. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the 10 co-sponsors received $561,539 on average in contributions from the oil industry compared to the other 89 voting senators who received $224,777.

The budget is unlikely to make its way into law. CREDO Political Director Becky Bond said “the only thing today’s nonbinding, symbolic vote underscores on Keystone XL is the fact that this is President Obama’s decision alone and his alone.” LCV President Gene Karpinski said “Big Oil may have bought themselves this meaningless vote, but the decision on the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline remains where it’s been all along — with Secretary Kerry and President Obama.”

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24 Responses to Senate Gone Wild: Vote To Approve Keystone Passes, Decision Still Lies With White House

  1. TF says:

    It would be helpful of you to report WHO voted for it.

    • Lee E says:

      (From The Hill)
      All Republicans voted in favor. The Democrats who supported the measure were Sens. Max Baucus (Mont.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Tom Carper (Del.), Bob Casey (Pa.), Chris Coons (Del.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Tim Johnson (S.D.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Joe Manchin (W. Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Bill Nelson (Fla.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Jon Tester (Mont.) and Mark Warner (Va.).

  2. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Well they looked busy, didn’t they? Some people just expect the Earth, ME

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      Cheer up ME. That ‘working-class zero’, Marrun Fungusson is gone, along with Krudd. I believe Fungusson is on an offer of a sinecure at his beloved ‘Minerals Council’, polishing boots or licking….no, I can’t say that. But, stuff right at his accomplishment level, in any case, for ‘services rendered’.

      • Merrelyn Emery says:

        Mulga, he did fantastic work at the ACTU but got carried away as the Minister for Very Big Holes in the Ground by his desire to see a ‘prosperous Australia’. I’m glad to see him go but sorry that economic rationalism has so infiltrated our psyches that such a good man could become so misguided, ME

        • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

          ME-I deeply admire your generosity of spirit. Me-not so much.

        • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

          ME, on today’s ‘The Insiders’ (Antipodean Arcana Alert) Gerard Henderson asserted that Murrun Fungusson was one of the best Ministers in the Gillard Cabinet. The prosecution rests its case.

          • Merrelyn Emery says:

            I watched it. I don’t want to be pushed into defending this misguided man. Perhaps JG could break with the past and merge the portfolio into Industry, or quietly forget about it, or give it to the Minister for Climate Change, ME

    • Sasparilla says:

      It’s amazing the Obama administration did this a 2nd time!

      The first dustup on the XL eventually leading to its delay was the fact that the State Department hired TransCanada’s primary consultant to write the environmental impact statement.

      Then the doofuses (and I say that in the kindest way possible) did it again, thinking it’d be okay. Amazing! Obviously SOP in the department for it to happen again.

      • onyerlefty says:

        And then tried to coverup their coverup by redacting the redaction.

        I thought there were laws for those kinds of things.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

        They are just kicking sand in the hated ‘Greenies” faces. Expect a lot more of this during Obama’s second term.

  3. Sasparilla says:

    Well President Obama, things are much worse than you guys have been letting on to the public so it’d be easier on you folks (we’re way past a plausible path to staying below 2.0C, and it’d take a herculean effort to stay under 4.0C without feedbacks, which are starting) – so quit making things worse and veto the XL.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      Why worry about four degrees, when it is so plain that two degrees will see us off?

  4. BobbyL says:

    Very brave of the Senate to vote for something supported by 70% of Americans. I would assume that those who didn’t approve are not up for re-election until at least 2016. The senators are focused on possible negative ads to be used against them. This is how you get to 6C and beyond.

    • Mike Roddy says:

      The negative ads succeed because the media has been bought, and the facts we know about Keystone are not reported in MSM.

      • BobbyL says:

        That’s news to me. I always thought negative ads succeeded (at least sometimes) because they portrayed a candidate negatively. Of course, they can backfire if the candidate using them appears to be too mean. I don’t think the public in general has the attention span to hear every fact about Keystone. And I am sure for many people it simply isn’t as interesting as what the Kardashians are up to.

  5. Bill Wilson says:

    I hope enough moral leaders of faith see this as the moral issue of our lives. While many understand the need to help reduce abortions as faith leaders this is a clear issue where the poorest suffer the most at first but children and all of us eventually will suffer for the blind demands of a narrow multinational knowing no loyalties corrupting our Democracy. It is even a crime against humanity from the source area and continues whereever it is finally burned and in the lungs of humanity. Kalamazoo MI should be the Pearl Harbor call of our invasion.

  6. Russ Brewer says:

    Would the presidential veto of the pipeline do anything to defend climate change? It seems to me market forces are driving fuel consumption and co2. Even if there is a veto Canadian tar sands will still be refined and shiped to Asia. Instead of a pipeline the will use rail car to bring it to market. I would bet the rail car method would pollute more, but I’m not an expert.

    What I do know is that targeting the pipeline to fight global warming is like arresting drug dealers to fight addiction. As long as we demand dirty energy there will be a pipeline or a rail car or a diesel truck to deliver. If you want to feel good about your fight against global warming stop consuming…. just about everything. We demand cheap goods from China where they are made with coal energy and shipped on diesel fueled tankers then trucked cross country to where you purchase them in a market.

    I have little faith that man kind will understand its igorance before it consumes its self. Egos that populate the comment sections such as these heed little of the message other than the primal argument that the “other” is bad.

    A great deal of personal introspection should be undertaken before we take to the internets and presume to fight for causes when it is more likely our own ignorance that is our worst enemy.

    • Allan Masri says:

      Market forces are driving the manufacture of oil and gas, not its consumption. Energy companies reap huge profits by selling more oil and they do not need to clean up after themselves.

      Consumption is driven by energy industry opposition to renewable energy, including expensive misleading publicity campaigns and large campaign donations. We have the best congress money can buy.

      We oppose the Keystone Pipeline because less oil burned is better. Delay in production is better than immediate production. Canadian original nations are strongly opposed to further development of the pipeline and have been successful thus far in preventing a pipeline to the West Coast.

      Let them try to transport the oil by rail. Railroads have terminals and protestors can stop transfer to ships at that point. Throw yourself on the gears of the machine and stop it. Do not give up. Keep on protesting stupidity and avarice until you win.

  7. Mark E says:

    Cheer up…. they just have to buy time.

    If NOAA’s outlook for expanding midcontinent drought this year plays out, and the harvest is ‘way down again, and our reserves are bottoming out, and a new rash of farm failures hits the mortgage industry, and massive dust storms burying the idle combines fill the news…..

    Then there will be a lot more wiggle room to “just say no”.

  8. While I would love to say no to the Keystone pipeline, a reality is we the USA still needs a lot of oil. Until we break our own addition then we will continue to need oil.

    Fortunately we now have choices and can get electric cars to break our need for imported oil. So the best way to fight the Keystone pipeline is to buy an EV and then with no need for the oil the pipeline will not be built.

    We need to act and put our convictions into action.

  9. rollin says:

    The canadian tar sands will collapse under it’s own geology and economic problems. The biggest problem now is the lack of conservation and efficiency in the US and much of the world. The next biggest problem is coal burning. The third is global marketing of fossil fuels.
    Although a single pipeline has been made a landmark by environmental activists, they are moving into the political relm where the cards are stacked against success.

  10. Theodore says:

    Stopping the pipeline is like demanding that one slave owner free one slave.
    What’s really needed is a total world-wide ban on all new investment in fossil fuel production distribution and consumption, including power plants, refineries, pipelines, oil and gas tankers, port facilities, oil and gas wells, coal mine expansion, railroad tracks intended primarily for hauling coal and even non-zero emissions automobile production.