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Sen. Mary Landrieu On The Brink As Democrats Vote “No” To The XL Keystone Pipeline

November 19, 2014  |  Posted by: Giovanni DePhillips
Sen. Mary Landrieu On The Brink As Democrats Vote “No” To The XL Keystone Pipeline Image courtesy of thenewcivilrightsmovement.com

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The vote for Keystone XL oil pipeline has failed in the Senate on Tuesday evening by just one vote. This is a defeat not only for the energy project but the politically endangered Louisiana Democratic senator, Mary Landrieu who pushed the legislation.

The final vote failed 59-41 vote. It needed 60 to pass.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., had pushed to vote the legislation in the wake of her runoff election on Dec 6th.

Landrieu was hoping to show her electorate that she had the Washington influence to pass the bill and put the vote on record, that she supported she pipeline, despite the fact that President Obama would consider vetoing.

However, the defeat does not mean the end of the pipeline, Republicans have vowed to bring up the legislation in the next session when they control the majority in both houses of congress.

“A new majority will be taking this matter up and sending it to the president,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said earlier Tuesday.

Landrieu’s big lobbying effort ultimately wasn’t enough to make that happen in the lame-duck session. Polls show she is down at least 16 points against her Republican opponent and she had been scrambling to garner the 60 votes needed in the final hours leading up to the vote, making phone calls and making a passionate plea in favor of the energy project.

The Democrat was trying to win over Democratic senators in a bid to push the pipeline forward, and also help her struggling Senate runoff bid.

Landrieu was forced earlier this month into a Dec. 6 runoff against GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy. The House passed its own bill last Friday, with help from Cassidy.

But while all 45 Senate Republicans backed the Senate bill, Landrieu failed to persuade enough Democratic colleagues.

Her possible road to passage narrowed Monday as Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Carl Levin, D-Mich. — two potential flips — reaffirmed they would vote “no.” It narrowed even further after Maine independent Sen. Angus King declared Tuesday he would oppose the bill, even though he said he is “frustrated” that Obama has not made a decision.

Several liberal Democrats actively lobbied against Landrieu on the vote — Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii, for example, blasted an email to supporters on Monday asking them to sign a petition against Keystone.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., argued on the Senate floor Tuesday that the project could lead to China-style pollution and other hazards.

But Landrieu argued that the natural resources are going to be extracted regardless.

“It’s a high-tech, state-of-the-art pipeline that’s going to put thousands of people to work,” Landrieu said. “This has absolutely nothing to do with climate change.”

The vote nevertheless offers a preview of what is ahead for Obama on energy and environmental issues when the Republicans take control of both houses of Congress next year.

For six years, the fate of the Keystone XL oil pipeline has languished amid debates over global warming and the country’s energy security. The latest delay came after a lawsuit was filed in Nebraska over its route.

The proposed crude-oil pipeline, which would run 1,179 miles from the Canadian tar sands to Gulf coast refineries, has been the subject of a fierce struggle between environmentalists and energy advocates ever since Calgary-based TransCanada proposed it in 2008.

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