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Pipeline Politics
Congress Not Done With Keystone Yet

Though President Obama promptly vetoed a bill that would have approved the Keystone XL pipeline last week, Congress isn’t ready to give up on the legislation yet. The Senate is preparing to bring a vote to the floor on Thursday to override that veto, though the numbers don’t seem favorable for the bill. Last week 63 Senators voted for it, four short of the 67 necessary to overcome the veto, but that isn’t stopping the new GOP-controlled Congress from setting up another showdown over the controversial piece of oil infrastructure.

And, as the Hill reports, legislators intend to continue the fight even if the veto override is defeated this week, promising to attempt to attach it to another bill:

Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) told The Hill last week that he was working to get more Democrats on board but that he is also weighing next moves given the likelihood the override effort will fail. […]

“I think it’s more likely we are going to look to something like the highway bill and attaching it there. That’s an infrastructure bill, this is about infrastructure. ” Hoeven said. “We have strong support in the House. Obviously, we have everybody on our side.”

Meanwhile, in a recent interview with a North Dakotan news station President Obama played down the pipeline’s importance for the United States, saying it “bypasses the United States and is estimated to create a little over 250, maybe 300 permanent jobs. We should be focusing more broadly on American infrastructure for American jobs and American producers….” The Washington Post fact-checked that statement and found it wanting, pointing out that a large portion of the crude being transported to Gulf Coast refineries would be consumed domestically in its refined form, and that the pipeline would also help bring North Dakota’s Bakken crude to those same refineries.

In the political furor over this issue it’s easy to find yourself distracted from the very simple reason why the Obama Administration should have approved Keystone years ago: the crude in Alberta’s oil sands is coming out of the ground one way or another, and this pipeline is the most efficient way to bring it to market. Blocking Keystone won’t keep that crude locked away, but building it will help our northern neighbor and help keep the North American energy boom going.

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  • xsnake

    Thanks to eunuch Boehner, “Congress” is no longer a functioning part of government.

    • Corlyss

      Oh, there’s a lot more to blame for that than Boehner. Let’s start with Dems being poor sports since . . . at least 1994. Many of them retired rather than live under Republicans. Guess they feared retribution for the way they had treated Republicans since 1933. Life is good as long as they are the ones doing the dictating, but intolerable when they’re in the minority.

      • xsnake

        “Poor sports”? They are radical revolutionaries bent on turning the nation into their version of the old USSR.

  • FriendlyGoat

    Maybe we could work out other more important things in Congress first, eh?

    • Corlyss

      What’s the point under Doofus?

    • Josephbleau

      Why not take some small steps instead of nothing, perhaps we could learn to bargain for shared gain rather than burn down each other’s houses. If Obama agreed to xl could he not get something else in return? Or don’t agree on xl but offer something else? If not he really is not trying.

      • FriendlyGoat

        Sure, Obama could agree to the pipeline and get Obamacare blessed with positive fixes, or get real comprehensive immigration reform, or something else substantive. I doubt the GOP would offer anything. If they theoretically would, let’s ask them what’s on offer.

        My guess is anything that amounts to a pinch of salt in the compromise game “violates their principles”. But as Obama has been saying for 6 years, we are always willing to hear “good” ideas.

      • Boritz

        That was the LBJ model of politics. You don’t see that approach much anymore because the Democrats today follow the sharks smelling chum in the water model in their reaction to the other side’s proposals.

  • Andrew Allison

    It’s even worse than the fact that the oil is coming out of the ground anyway. It’s coming here anyway, by rail at the cost of, according to government estimates, 20 derailments per year.

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