TransCanada pipeline segments.
As expected, the House passed a bill approving building of the Keystone XL pipeline Wednesday afternoon. The vote was 270-152. Twenty-nine Democrats voted for it and one Republican voted against. It's the same bill passed 62-36 by Senate and it is headed for a presidential veto. There aren't enough votes in either house to override that veto.
President Obama has previously rejected an attempt to fast-track the northern leg of the pipeline, which would carry tar sands petroleum in the form of diluted bitumen from Alberta to Texas after linking up with the southern leg that is already in operation from Cushing, Oklahoma, to Port Arthur on the Gulf Coast.
Approval of pipelines that cross international boundaries has been handled by the executive branch since the Grant administration. Since 1968, the responsibility for evaluating such projects has been delegated to the State Department. That process is nearly complete and a decision from the administration is expected soon, perhaps by the end of February. But congressional Republicans and some Democrats have sought several times to circumvent the process and ram the project through.
Foes of the pipeline responded as expected to the vote. In a statement, the executive director of 350.org, May Boeve, said:
“We’re looking forward the President vetoing this love letter to Big Oil. The members of Congress who voted for this bill took on average eight times more money from the fossil fuel industry than those who voted against it. This whole legislative charade has served as a reminder of how dangerous Keystone XL is for our country, communities, and climate. It also seems to have stiffened the President’s spine–he’s never looked more willing to reject the pipeline once and for all.”
Instead of listening to climate deniers Congress, President Obama should heed the advice of the nearly 100 scientists and economists who released a letter earlier today urging the President to reject Keystone XL.
Democrats who voted in favor of superseding the president's authority and building the pipeline: Brad Ashford of Nebraska; Sanford Bishop of Georgia; Robert Brady of Pennsylvania; Cheri Bustos of Illinois; James Clyburn of South Carolina; Jim Cooper of Tennessee, Jim Costa of California; Henry Cuellar of Texas; Michael Doyle of Pennsylvania; Gwen Graham of Florida; Al Green of Texas; Gene Green of Texas; Rubén Hinojosa of Texas; Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas; Daniel Lipiniski of Illinois; David Loebsack of Iowa; Sean Maloney of New York; Patrick Murphy of Florida; Richard Nolan of Minnesota; Norcross of New Jersey; Collin Peterson of Minnesota; Cedric Richmond of Louisiana; Kurt Schrader of Oregon; David Scott of Georgia; Terri Sewell of Alabama; Albio Sires of New Jersey; Marc Veasey of Texas; Filemon Vela of Texas; Tim Walz of Minnesota.