Senate Votes YES On Tar Sands Pipeline

It was late Friday afternoon when the State Department denied any negative environmental impacts from the Keystone tar sands pipeline.

In another late Friday action, when there’s little publicity, the Senate voted 62-37 to approve the Keystone pipeline as an amendment to the budget.

All Republicans voted in favor of the non-binding amendment – a "symbolic" vote – but so did plenty of Democrats. The purpose of the vote was to exert more pressure on President Obama to approve the pipeline.

It’s extremely upsetting to see how many Senators are in the pockets of the fossil fuel industry and who don’t take climate change seriously.

After analyzing the votes, Oil Change International found that those who voted for the pipeline have received 3.5 times more campaign contributions from fossil fuel interests than those who voted against it. Before voting for the pipeline, they received a total of $499,648 from the industry and a grand total of $30,978,153.

"Today’s vote presents yet another reason why Congress is less popular than root canals," says David Turnbull of Oil Change International. "Every single effort from Congress to influence the Keystone XL pipeline decision has been backed by millions in dirty energy money. This vote was nothing more than a $31 million sideshow whose sole purpose was to kiss the rings of the Senate’s Big Oil benefactors."

"Tar sands pipelines have no place in the debate over the federal budget and Congress has no business rubber stamping dangerous, unnecessary Big Oil projects. This vague, nonbinding resolution does nothing but show how eager these Senators are to please their Big Oil masters," says Michael Brune, Executive Director of Sierra Club.

Democratics who voted in favor tend to vulnerable incumbents, many from states that are big in fracking and oil, but some are surprising: 

Mark Begich (Alaska) 
Mark Pryor (Arkansas)
Michael Bennet (Colorado)
Tom Carper and Chris Coons (Delaware)
Bill Nelson (Florida)
Joe Donnelly (Indiana)
Mary Landrieu (Louisiana)
Claire McCaskill (Missouri)
Max Baucus and Jon Tester (Montana)
Kay Hagan (North Carolina)
Heidi Heitkamp (North Dakota)
Tim Johnson (South Dakota)
 Bob Casey (Pennsylvania)
Joe Manchin (W. Virginia)
Mark Warner (Virginia)

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Comments on “Senate Votes YES On Tar Sands Pipeline”

  1. resourcequeen

    It’s better that the pipeline is built to serve our market, than to serve other markets. It can be monitored easily. Many companies producing from the oil sands also happen to be spending a lot on reclaiming and cleaning up after themselves. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Approve the pipeline.

  2. Rona Fried

    Resourcequeen, one of the many problems with the pipeline is that is will NOT serve the US, it will be exported. We’re just a conveyor, taking all the risks of the inevitable ruptures, not to mention allowing for rapid tar sands expansion that’s not possible without it.


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