Fantastic!!!!!!!!!!! Sanity prevailed and enough Democrats voted against Keystone to prevent passage!
Angus King (I-ME) voted NO, holding off a filibuster-proof majority of 60 votes. It failed 59-41.
Over the past week, activists flooded Senate phone lines and held sit-ins at key Senators’ offices, and the pressure worked. They held a rally in NYC and even protested outside Landrieu’s front lawn.
On the side are groups like the American Petroleum Institute, which ran national TV ads pressuring Senators who might be on the fence. It will top the Republican agenda next year when they take over the Senate, but they will not have enough votes to overcome a presidential veto.
What many people don’t realize is that by Congress short-circuiting the State Department approval process – turning themselves into the permitting agency – all environmental safeguards and legal challenges from the public are waived.
All 45 Republicans voted in favor of approving Keystone, joined by 14 Democrats, some of which are "blue dogs" that lost in the midterm election:
Mark Begich (D-AK)
Kay Hagan (D-NC)
Mark Pryor (D-AR)
Michael Bennet (D-CO)
Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
Bob Casey (D-PA)
Tom Carper (D-DE)
Mark Warner (D-VA)
Joe Manchin (D-WV)
Joe Donnelly (D-IN)
Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
Jon Tester (D-MT)
John Walsh (D-MT)
Next year, Keystone supporters will have more votes as the Republican wave brings in tea party politicians to replace Democrats that voted No:
Shelley Moore Capito (R-WVA) replaces retiring Jay Rockefeller (D)
Cory Gardner (R-CO) defeated Mark Udall (D)
Joni Ernst (R-IA) replaces retiring Tom Harkin (D)
Mike Rounds (R-SD) replaces retiring Tim Johnson (D)
You can watch the debate anytime at C-SPAN.
New research shows how dangerous pipelines are
In the past year-and-a-half in the US, there have been 372 ruptures, leaks, spills or explosions, causing 20 deaths, 117 injuries and over $256 million in damages. And tar sands oil is much more corrosive than conventional oil, with higher safety risks, and much more difficulty in cleaning up the inevitable spills.
Since 1986, there have been more than 8,700 significant incidents – more than 300 per year.
In a letter to Senator Mitch McConnell (K-KY), Bold Nebraska director Jane Kleeb and rancher Randy Thompson (who is singlehandedly holding up the Nebraska permit), write:
"We are really sick and tired of being told how safe this project will be by people who live 1500 miles away. Would you be so anxious to vote "yes" if this pipeline were to run through your property where your family lives, works and plays?" …. "You oil-soaked Senators should be ashamed of yourselves and if you have the nerve to talk about the constitution or property rights again, we will be there to set the record straight. A vote for Keystone XL is a vote for eminent domain for private gain and a vote to pollute our water."
Mayflower Arkansas spill – Exxon didn’t divulge that tar sands oil was flowing through a very old pipeline meant for crude oil:
"There’s no way to get around the fact that oil and gas pipelines are dangerous and have exacted a devastating toll on people and wildlife. It’s appalling to see Congress seriously considering giving the green light to Keystone XL," says Bill Snape, senior counsel with the Center for Biological Diversity.
Along its 1700 mile route, it will cross numerous rivers – including Yellowstone and Platte, and thousands of streams, not to mention the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides drinking water to 1.9 million people and irrigation to 27% of the arable land in the US.
The analysis comes from records kept by the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, but its database only contains "significant" incidents" – resulting in death or injury, damages of over $50,000, more than 5 barrels of highly volatile substances or 50 barrels of other liquids released, exploded or burned.
There have already been problems with the southern leg of Keystone, and TransCanada certainly isn’t known for putting safety first. As part of the State Department analysis of Keystone, even they said spills would be inevitable from a pipeline carrying 830,000 barrels of tar sands oil a day from Canada to Texas. Expect as many as 100 spills during its lifetime, they say!
Holding off Keystone for the past six years has had an impact. Tar sands production is slowing, big projects have been cancelled, and now lower oil prices are making tar sands oil uncompetitive in the marketplace.
Follow on Twitter #NoKXL.
Read the letter to McConnell: