The Democrat-controlled Senate defeated a bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline on Tuesday.
The bill needed 60 votes to reach the White House but received just 59 votes after passing overwhelmingly in the House. While President Obama had said he did not support the bill, the White House had not said whether or not it would veto the bill if it passed the Senate, the Boston Herald reported.
The defeat of the bill struck a blow to Sen. Mary Landieu (D-La) by her own party. Thirteen Democrats voted with Landieu, who is locked in a December 6 runoff against GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy. The pipeline vote has become a major issue in the race, where the state’s oil and gasoline industry supports its construction and both candidates support the bill, USA Today reported.
[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Mary Landieu” author_title=”Democratic Senator of Louisiana”]
I came here 18 years ago fighting to get here, fighting to stay here. And I’m going to fight for the people of my state until the day that I leave. I hope that will not be soon.
The 1,200-mile proposed crude oil pipeline would connect existing pipelines from Canada all the way to the Gulf Coast. The pipeline system is designed to carry up to 830,000 barrels of petroleum a day to oil refineries on the Gulf Coast. While half of the system is already built, this addition would create a shortcut to connect existing lines.
Environmentalists have opposed the pipeline, saying it would create a conduit to market oil extracted from Alberta oil sands, an unconventional source of energy that requires more fuel and carbon emissions to extract than traditional gas and oil. There is also fear that the pipeline carrying heavy oil sands petroleum could cause serious environmental damage if it develops a leak.
Protesters interrupted the Senate proceedings by singing and chanting Native American songs in the chamber, apparently in celebration of the bill’s failure. The group, reportedly from the Lakota tribe in South Dakota were dragged out by U.S. Capitol Police, handcuffed and led outside, Fox News reported.