A bipartisan coalition of U.S. senators is trying to rally support for a bill that would bypass the White House and green light the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project.
Co-sponsored by Senators John Hoeven (R-ND) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and introduced on May 1, the legislation is essentially a construction permit for the project, and cuts out the State Department, under whose jurisdiction the project falls, completely.
So far, the measure has the support of all 45 Senate Republicans and 11 Senate Democrats. Sixty votes are needed for passage, so four more Democrats need to be persuaded.
There are several Democrats on the fence that the pro-Keystone XL group is trying to court, including Tim Johnson (SD), Michael Bennet (CO), Tom Carper (DE), Chris Coons (DE), Bill Nelson (FL) and Mark Warner (VA). Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid opposes the pipeline but has indicated he may allow the bill to come up for a vote.
The House has already passed a bill to approve the Keystone XL. President Barack Obama could still veto the measure if Senate supporters are able to rally the required 60 votes,
Meanwhile, the multi-year delay may force Keystone’s parent company, TransCanada, to lay off workers. “There will be several hundred [people] that will be impacted by this decision, both employees and contractors,” CEO Russ Girling said at the company’s annual meeting in Calgary. “At this point in time, there’s a very low probability that we would have a decision in time to meet this year’s summer construction period.”
By James Burgess of Oilprice.com
James Burgess studied Business Management at the University of Nottingham. He has worked in property development, chartered surveying, marketing, law, and accounts. He has also…