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Keystone pipeline vote short four votes in the Senate to continue construction

Kara Menini

Keystone pipeline construction halted by Senate, President Obama supports decision

President Obama stands behind Senates decision

The Keystone pipeline has not gained enough support to continue construction. On Thursday, according to NewsMax “The Democrat-led U.S. Senate yesterday narrowly rejected a Republican amendment to a transportation funding bill that would have fast-tracked the project. The measure, which received 56 votes in favor, failed because Senate rules require 60 votes to include the amendment.”

The Keystone pipeline is a cross-country project that, if finished, will allow oil to be transported from tar sands in Alberta, Canada to oil refineries on the coast of the Gulf in Texas. The Keystone pipeline project requires U.S. State Department approval because the pipeline will cross an international border.

TransCanada, the company in charge of the Keystone pipeline, has already started plans for construction in Texas since the project in the U.S. only requires that simple permits be acquired. TransCanada president of enery and oil pipelines division, Alex Pourbaix, is hopeful that the southern tier construction from Cushing, Oklahoma to Texas will start late this spring.

The Keystone pipeline was recently rejected by the State Department because both the department and President Obama say the company needs to find an alternate route that would avoid the Ogallala Aquifer, an important water source for eight states, and the Sandhills, a sensitive region in Nebraska.

Support for the construction of the Keystone pipeline comes because it would create about 20,000 temporary jobs; something that is important for a country struggling with high unemployment rates.

Obama’s rejection of the Keystone pipeline has cause backlash from Republican presidential candidates. “Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich said Obama’s denial of Keystone would cost U.C. construction jobs and lead to higher energy prices. They criticized the move as a sacrifice of jobs and energy supplies to please the president’s political allies,” said News Max.

However, environmental groups praise Obama’s rejection of the projects. Bill McKibben, founder of an environmental group said that “the vote was a temporary victory and there’s no guarantee that it holds for the long fun.”

Republican Senator John Hoevan, who proposed the amendment to authorize construction of the Keystone pipeline and deem it in compliance with environmental regulations, according to News Max, said that Republicans will seek any other opportunities to have the Keystone pipeline built.

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