Home / Energy / Emboldened Republicans to strike early on Keystone pipeline approval

Emboldened Republicans to strike early on Keystone pipeline approval

WASHINGTON, Nov 5 – Senate Republicans will charge ahead early in 2015 with a bill to approve the long-stalled Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada, a move that would back President Barack Obama into a corner and set the tone for how the party taking control of Congress will govern the next two years.

The $8 billion project, which would deliver heavy Canadian oil sands crude from Alberta to Nebraska and make it easier to deliver oil from North Dakota’s Bakken region to the U.S. Gulf Coast, has languished for six years awaiting presidential approval, which is needed because the pipeline crosses a national border.

Legislation earlier this year to approve the pipeline in a proposed end-run around the administration already had an estimated 57 votes in the 100-member Senate, and is now thought to have a filibuster-proof 61 votes after Republican gains in Tuesday’s mid-term elections.

In addition, Republican Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota, who has authored several Keystone bills in the past, will propose a new bill for Congress to use the Foreign Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution to green light the pipeline without the need for presidential approval.

“I’ve got a bill right now that’s got about 56 co-sponsors,” Hoeven, who has fought for years in Congress to advance such a bill, told Reuters. “And with the election results, we’ll have over 60 who clearly support the legislation.”

Shares in TransCanada, the builder and owner of the XL and other branches of the Keystone pipeline system, rose as much as about 3 percent on Wednesday on renewed optimism that the pipeline will finally go ahead.

Political observers look for Mitch McConnell, the expected new Senate Majority Leader, to quickly back a Keystone bill because it has bipartisan votes and the support of key constituencies, such as organized labor.

Several Democrats who have previously supported the pipeline, such as Hoeven’s North Dakota counterpart Heidi Heitkamp, are likely to sign on. Democrats Tom Carper and Chris Coons, both from Delaware, have also indicated previously that they support the pipeline.

“If McConnell plays his cards right, he might be able to get the Democratic votes necessary to get a bill out of the Senate. Whether or not the president would sign such a bill is a whole other question,” said Jim Manley, a former adviser to current Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid.

In related news, Rounds talks EPA, Keystone.

Some observers think McConnell will start with a Keystone bill rather than more confrontational measures, such as blocking coal regulations proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency, to set a constructive tone for the new congress.

“There is a lot of concern about not overreaching and being seen as extreme. They want to show that they can govern,” said a former Republican aide and political consultant.

Keystone legislation would also force Obama to either veto a measure with bipartisan support, or let a project advance that he has vowed to stop if certain emissions criteria are not met.

“The main result would be Republicans getting it on the record and using it to demonstrate an obstructionist Democrat-Obama stance on the issue,” said Divya Reddy, director of global energy at political risk consultancy Eurasia Group.

The pipeline has become a symbol for environmental groups and the oil industry, galvanizing the green movement and forcing the White House to focus on climate change.

For industry, the delay in its approval has come to represent what they say is the Obama administration’s over-regulation and hindering of energy development.

Energy markets have largely moved past Keystone, though, since alternatives means are already on hand to move oil around the country.

For now, the pipeline’s proposed route through Nebraska is still entangled in a legal battle that could potentially drag on through 2015.

Beyond Keystone, Republicans could look for other energy priorities that could garner Democratic support, including a bill to speed up liquefied natural gas export approvals and increase reliability of the electric grid.

“The name of this game is negotiation, not necessarily legislation,” said Scott Segal, head of the Policy Resolution Group at industry lobbying group Bracewell Guiliani.

But as he signaled on the campaign trail, McConnell said Wednesday he is prepared to play hardball on Republican priorities, such as battling EPA carbon regulations.

He said he would go after the EPA’s “war on coal” by using riders on spending measures, which he said was “the best tool available.”

(Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton, editing by Ros Krasny and Alden Bentley)

178 comments

  1. So disappointing that this can’t be settled.
    Jobs and revenue going down the drain.
    I worked 798 Aprentice Welder Helper and I know how strict the environmentalists are on how the Pipeline is laid.
    The money we spent living in towns shopping , eating ect.
    They called us ,”Pipeline Trash”, just like they call the Oilfield hands trash now, but it’s how we had to make our living.
    If ypu don’t understand something do your homework and make a sound decision.
    I know for a fact that even the Non Union pipeline contractors still have to follow the same rules a d guidelines as the Union

  2. Good. If Obama won’t sign it I say they move ahead and finally impeach him so we can be rid of him and his dictatorship and his excessive use of executive orders.

    • Yea, Yea Jared! Impeach Obama! Then guess what? You got Joe Bidin to go through! Use your head man!!!

    • If we all used our heads he’d already be impeached. He’s negotiating with terrorists to release deserters and when he doesn’t get his way he uses executive orders. There’s tons more reasons to impeach him and no president in our history has ever deserved impeachment more. He blabs about working with the new senate to create jobs and do what’s best for this country so if he’s even close to being sincere about that then he’ll support the oil boom in America as much as possible considering North Dakota’s unemployment rate is only 2% because of the oil boom while the average of the rest of the country is over 5%.

  3. Pipeline is the safest and most efficient way to move fuels. There is no good argument against it. They say what if it leaks well what if a train derails in downtown Chicago or Philly then explodes. Pipeline just makes more sense.

  4. Still waiting for Nebraska to approve the pipeline route…I think the corn huskers have finally approved the new route and it should be voted on by that state legislature shortly…..

  5. As long as it’s done right.i hope it gets done but when congress get involved it will be a disaster in the end . because congress will first and foremost will make the regulations in favor of their rich friends

  6. Build it across Canada, it is Canadian oil after all and is only destined for export. They get the profit, we get the leaks!!!

  7. Hmm.. didn’t they just get a loop line to the great lakes region? Why do they need it now?

  8. pipelines have been proven to be safer than any other carrier! Have you ever heard of a leak or spill from the 30 yr old Alaskan pipeline, I didn’t think so!

    • That’s why we have the strictest welding codes.
      If you can’t pass the test (b33) your not welding the pipe !

    • There are spills from the Alaska pipeline all the time plus they have more strict maintenance than this pipeline will have plus this pipeline will be made with chinese pipe not american like alaskas pipeline was

    • Pipeline just broke and polluted the ONLY natural lake in Texas. No thanks. Solar. Wind. It’s past time to get on board with alternative energy.

    • Cindy Brooking that is the most ridiculous statement I’ve ever seen… What if the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow??? Is every American going to be ok without power for a few days?? I didn’t think so! At this time there is not a single possibility of doing away with Coal, Natural Gas, or Oil. I agree that we should find more alternative measures, but that’s likely 20-30 years away from the realm of possibility.

    • How old was the pipeline Cindy? New technology is 100% better these days. Jeremy is spot on about wind and solar, no way to store it, it is either there or gone, Natural gas has some possibilities and I think you will see more of it! Your lake will be fine, oil floats on water 🙂

    • Oh that’s right Michael, oil floats. Thats why they’ve found thick oil deposits on the floor of the Gulf from the BP disaster.

    • Finally someone who makes sense on these reviews. Thanks Michael Strasburger you took the words right out of my mouth, or mind. How many major oil spills have there been on the ancient Alaska pipeline? And better yet, how do we produce so many products we get now from petroleum with wind and solar power? Huh? Plastic and vinyl items do not come from any windmills or solar panels. But guess where we get them from. The idealism of the environmental left wing always leaves us with more questions than answers. Do not get me wrong, I approve of wind and solar power. But not at the expense of completely shutting down oil production. That’s where the real ignorance lies.

  9. no .. if canada wants to get its oil to china … let them build it west through their country ……

    • Yeah hey, let’s just completely miss out on this awesome opportunity for our economy, said no one EVER

    • reports and studies done have concluded that the pipeline will provide 20-30 long term jobs …. and we take all the risk? .. yeah that is genius

    • just what we need … millions of gallons of oil rolling through our heartland … right across our farms that grow our food …. yes you idea is brilliant … hope you make money .. so you can eat it once this thing leaks .. and it will … and destroys food producing soil in our farm lands … pure genius … smh …..

    • We refine that oil in US refineries and export the products in the US dollar. The by products are the feedstock for the US chemical and fertilizer industries.

      • Hey Shaun,
        Go to the Keystone pipeline website and they tell you in their words that 35 Full time and 15 part time permanent jobs will be created. There will be a few thousand temporary jobs for only a couple of years to connect the pipe. Actually I watched a pipeline being built across Illinois and it did spike the local economy for the couple of years it took to build but almost no local people were hired to construct. They also still farm all of the land the pipe runs under with no problems. Although I believe it is a Natural Gas pipe not crude there is absolutely thousands of miles of crude pipeline under our feet that we don’t even know about so I say connect it and hope people quit ranting over a rupture that may or may not happen. It is still safer than driving a car.

    • It will also transport our North Dakota oil south, freeing up the trains that cannot get grain out.

    • Funny…..I guess the Canadian oil that we are receiving by train and putting into California pipelines is either not really Canadian or China is driving to California to gas up….. Enviro-cool aide drinking-dumba$$.

    • Do you realize how many thousands of pipelines are already moving oil through our heartland at a rate of millions of barrels (not gallons) a day? See Cushing, OK.
      Every night on the news, all I see are leaks destroying food producing soil. smh

    • shaun what you are not realizing is that i use to have “interest in ND oil” ,… and i got out once i saw what that “oil boom” was doing to the land there … and could not in good conscience continue to profit from that ….. so you can bark all the propaganda you want .. but i know …..

    • >Gary Michael Shaun Collins wrote:
      > i got out once i saw what that “oil boom” was
      > doing

      What? You mean making ND rich with the lowest unemployment in the country and a $1biilion state surplus.

    • Gary, where in ND were you? What land is being destroyed? What was your interest? I have worked all over ND’s oil patch. This land that’s being ruined does not exist… Sure there are some pump jacks near some scenic areas, however they are not ruining the actual land! Farmers out here are still producing crops on their ruined land and clearly you still have food to eat!

    • Tyler obviously owns no land nor ever had a pipeline go through. The troubles with this is they take the land give virtually nothing for it then the land never recovers because the topsoil is never put back on top. But the biggest falacy is that any significant amount of bakken oil will be carried by this pipeline. It isnt. They said the same thing about the last giant pipeline built thru here by the same company and it carried 98% canadian gas for 20 years after it was built and even today 35 years later is still less than 50% american gas why would it be different this time??

    • Canada already has a pipeline getting built by enbridge to the west coast completed 2015 Mr Gary Michaels. Also Canada has the keystone completed to the boarder, now waiting on Americas approval to finnish

    • then they dont need this pipeline …. ty

  10. They lay pipelines all over Europe and Asia and don’t have the political BS that our extortionist fascist socialist pig government here has

  11. Works in Alaska now there gonna build a natural gas line next to it and we get earthquakes almost daily works for us

  12. We used to build things in this country

  13. Sew saudi says and opec…
    Build it…support america. Not saudi terrorist.

  14. Just the other day, he our disappointing President said he has to do some more study on it. Really!

  15. The follow thru will be non existent.

  16. Gary doesn’t know about all the other pipe lines that already exist. And how updated this would be. I wonder what form of transportation Gary uses

  17. When this gets approved, they’ll quit complaining about the Bakken.

  18. Jim I believe we get a small percentage also,kinda like a crumb falling from the table

  19. Get the damn thing done already. Safer transport, jobs, energy independance, and new infrastructure.

  20. Screw the Canadians worry about America build the pipeline just from North Dakota

  21. Build it hell with that tree hugger lol

  22. build it as long as we don’t lift the export ban!!!!!!!!!

  23. Lay the pipe line!!! Now!!!

  24. Needs to happen asap. What’s the big problem N why has it taken so long. We need places to transport our oil. Why get oil overseas, there’s plenty right here in ND. Fed up with no decisions being made by Obama.

    • Susan, it’s a myth that we have plenty of oil here in ND. If the U.S. was to only use oil from ND to meet only our needs, we would have about 220 DAYS supply. Double the known reserves and we’d still less than two years supply.

  25. NO NO NO NO 1 senator already lost his job because of this! The land owners are Republican we do not want to give our land away

  26. Suck it Warren Buffett… using your political status to Axe the pipeline just because you own the Rails

  27. Pipeline companies don’t “take” land it is leased and the right of ways have to be put back as it was when it was dug. Farmers are still able to farm it after the lines are laid.

    • You obviously own no land or had a pipeline go through it because they do take it when the pay you $500 a mile and disturb 40 acres. And you assume that the people working it arent crackhead hillbillys which they are and dont put the topsoil back on top

    • EVERY line I have worked on and around has had the top soil removed separately from the sub soil and replaced correctly. It makes no sense to do it any other way because it is stated in every contract that the land must be left the way it is found. If not done correctly it leaves the pipeline operator open to costly needless litigation. Which NO pipeline operator wants.

    • In theory that maybe right but in the real world it isn’t the case. Which ones have you worked on? Have you heard about the hold up on the watford city gas plant? The landowner there is holding up a gas plant because a oneok subsidiary built a pipeline 3 years ago and now wants a gas plant and cant get their subsidiary to fix the 20′ holes where the dirt settled along the pipeline because they done a half assed job

    • There is no pipeline 20′ deep in nd unless it is bored under a road way or a wetland.

    • We have MILES of pipeline crossing Oklahoma, and other than the required clearing of trees and brush along the pipeline, you can’t even tell a pipeline exists!!! And that clearing is for safety of all…the pipeline companies fly over those lines periodically, to watch for leaks(which rarely happen, and are fixed immediately), besides the electronic monitoring of pressures and volumes, so no further damage to the environment occures!!! And, oneok is one of the most reliable pipeline companies in the states, they are CONSTANTLY watching their lines for issues like you described, and fix them immediately!!!

    • If oneok is so careful then how did these problems come to pass? Because they hire scab contractors and dont care. Its been 3 years and still isnt fixed the governor finally stepped in to get them to fix it

  28. Nebraska holds it up. Warren Buffet lives in Omaha. He owns BNSF. Oil doesn’t go through a pipeline it has to go on the rail. Hmmm

  29. Let’s do it and build back up America!

  30. They need to go around the Oglala Aquafer!

    • You really aren’t too smart are you? I can name several towns in nebraska where the aquifer is contaminated because of Feedlots

    • So let’s pollute the rest of it you dumb ass!

    • Their not even deep enough to hit aquifer, to hit that it’s an easy 200 feet

    • What happens when it starts to leak, and they don’t catch it right away? What do you say Oops and move on? I live in the Bakken and we have pipelines that leak at least 1 or 2 a month, and they usually aren’t caught until a farmer/rancher or hunter finds it, they can ship that by rail or ship just as easily or Canada could build their own refinery! But no let’s just pollute and spill until everything is destroyed in the name of Greed! I’d like to see some prestine stuff left for our kids not an unrepairable mess that will cost Billions to clean up if it can be!

  31. To bad it will provide minimal work for contract pipeline welders, as the majority of the welding will be performed by giant robotic type welding machinery.

    • You may be right Preston but a welder still has to stand there and babysit it… I been hearing it’s already laid from the gulf to Nebraska… Won’t take long for the union to lay the rest. I’m a welder too. I just wonder if we’ll be tying in to it anywhere in the Midwest?

  32. I seriously doubt that Preston Helton.
    A machine can’t run a bead like a welder.

  33. Lol. Harming an aquifer with a pipeline John Stevens. Lol

  34. You people are fooling yourself if you believe any significant amount of bakken oil will be moved by this pipeline

  35. But they want to send the oil to China in the end?

  36. Should’ve been approved already

  37. Well he has no problem let other things cross the border so why not oil

  38. Only reason obama stopped the pipeline is because of warren buffet
    They control the railway which is making billions
    Just follow the money…
    It’s not about environmental bs… It’s about the money…

  39. Well now, lets abandon the pipe line, kiss opec’s butt, pay 10 dollars a gallon at the pump, and burn fire wood to heat the house, this is what it sounds like the liberals want to me!!!!,

  40. Pass the dam pipeline less train wrecks with oil

  41. Alaska has pipeline put it on top of ground in that area that Nebraska is worried about ground water

  42. The dumb ignert sum needs to approve it and go on

  43. just keep it up there and tell the people your selling it to to come get it

  44. I will never agree, I am no tree hugger by any means, but someone please tell me why it is illegal to refine this oil in Canada? The reason is because it generates millions of tons of toxic waste and the Canadian Government refuses to allow it to be refined because they have no where to dump the waste. Second reason, it will never create any new permanent jobs, there will be some temporary shovel ready jobs during construction, but once it gets to Texas, there are all ready more than enough refinery workers to handle it. Shame on the Republicans for using this as a tool to make you think they were doing something for the country. Its all a smoke screen to get your mind off of the rest of the crap they are doing to us to keep their phony baloney jobs. Call you congress man or women and tell them we can not afford this oil in America, say NO and mean it

    • I worked up there in the tar sands area. They are refining a they can for even more than they (Canada) needs. It is needed to be exported via the Gulf to Europe, etc to be less dependent on OPEC and Russia and by doing so gives us more jobs than is stated, spinoff jobs, retail sales, etc. think.

    • I did think, I also did the research, you did not work in this area, Canada has banned all production there until it can be exported, this is the worst of the worst and no one in their right mind wants it

    • Paul Flowers Sir you are right

    • Millions of tons of toxic waste? Haha, alright. Oil refinement is actually remarkable efficient, as nearly every byproduct from the process is usable. Kerosene, gasoline, etc, and even the byproduct sludge is a primary ingredient in a lot of asphalt. The whole concern with the pipeline has little to do with oil refinement.

    • that is most oil Jonathan, Tar sand oil comes in many forms, and yes there is a toxic waste that is just as deadly as the nuclear waste we are all ready unable to get rid of, I am pretty much a stout Republican supporter, but this lie has to be stopped. It is nothing but a smoke screen to get our minds off of the fact that they are ramming this pipeline up our ass so a few can make a profit and they do not even have the decency to use lubricant in the process. Ask politician supporting this to prove I am wrong, it can not be done.

  45. Buffett & Gates own the oil leases in Canada… Currently Buffett is transporting the oil by his rail. Buffett gave Obumer a blow job for his bank bailout. Buffett got what he wanted from Obumer in the bailout and walked away from Obumer. Considering Buffett split from Obumer…Obumer is refusing Buffett’s pipeline. The profits of the oil remain in the holders hands…. Buffett & Gates! As for the pipe line, they are done with artist of the field.

  46. Couple of thoughts, the jobs building the pipeline are temporary and cause a myriad of issues due to the fact it’s not work that brings family’s buying houses. So the money spent building the pipeline will not result in comprable infrastructure spending. Once it’s built there will be only a fraction of a percent spent maintaining it. There will be a substantial loss of revenue in the trucking and railcar business. Trucking brings family’s and revenue for schools and roads that far surpasses anything that the pipeline will bring. The railroad is already in place and transports oil cheaply and quickly. The nations railways need a constant influx of cash the oil brings to maintain lines that not only transport oil but also the cars you drive to the toothpaste you use every morning. I use to be for keystone until I realized how many more jobs result from using a already In place transportation system that badly needs the money from oil. If you think about it using a in place system that spreads the money around and helps keep cost down while supporting indirectly a myriad of other businesses in trickle down economics that far exceeds what the pipeline construction will accomplish. I’m not saying Keystone shouldn’t be built, I just think it’s been made into something that it’s not. It’s not about a us against them mindset with the oil companies pulling the strings of construction workers against tree huggers or family farms. I just don’t think the truth has really been told concerning this major energy venture and what’s really best for OUR Country and its people.

  47. Warren buffet owns the railroad transporting oil. You think he is going to allow his buddy’s in politics to let pipeline be built that takes his profits away? Think about it it’s bigger than you !

  48. Why is it the unions all think they are the only ones that has a right to the work?

  49. screw getting it to the gulf coast for export, keep it here and get gas and heating oil to record low prices. would also drive down prices around the world without our demand

  50. It’s eminent domain they want so they pay land owners less for the right of way pipe lines cross us Canadian border every where

  51. Still the Canadians should build their own for their own oil over their own soil and we build ours over our land for our own.

  52. All the oil that will flow thru that pipeline not one drop is for The U.S., all of it will go to the Chinese. How is that benefiting Americans. To built a pipeline it doesn’t require Thousands of men, it only requires several hundred. How is that creating lots of jobs

  53. Eligio Gutierrez Sr. It’ll take thousands to build it .

  54. The destruction of the world as we know it today.

  55. It will take thousands of men & women to build it & to keep it going , plus major security.
    This is not a simple process & a lot of technology goes along with the pipeline. It’s time for our American ‘a to start getting jobs back. We need major refineries as well.

  56. Lay the damn pipe. Let’s make some money.

  57. Bill I think this is it.

  58. This should never happen. It is all risk and no reward.

  59. Screw the planet! Let’s build the pipeline and destroy the environment. Why should future generations be more important than short term profits?

  60. With this we can be energy independent within 5 years. Cutting back on ties in the middle east will make everyone safer. In about 7 years we can begin exporting. The reason Russia has so much power over Ukraine and other European nations over there is because of there reliance on Russian energy. Allowing them to choose who they get energy from will make Europe safer. We need to get energy from somewhere it makes sense that if we have the resources Americans that we provide our own. It makes sense from an economic and job standpoint (there are always permanent jobs created as well), and from a national and international security standpoint. Also the middle east controls most pricing. So when they want to raise prices or the country becomes destabilized (like with ISIS right now) supply can instantly go down or prices skyrocket. We need to be looking into our own drilling and fracking as well.

  61. My thoughts are as follows….the pipeline should have been approved years ago the oil will be moved over the roads and rails anyway ….and look at fuel prices as we produce more oil and gas in this country if you dig into this matter deeper we may be surprised the real reason for not putting in the line could go as far as saudi

  62. Nate Griffin! We were just talking bout this!

  63. Political favors have kept this from being approved. Why not a pipeline…. Because someone with railroads and trucks is making a ton of money hauling the crude while having greater exposure for spills and accidents than a pipeline ever would. The oil will be move but which way makes more sense? To Pebbles and Doxey, I will be willing to bet you use many forms of petroleum product so until you are free of it yourselves you are just whining hypocrites. As far as spills in the oilfield we even have to report ( this is kinda funny) potable water spills of a few gallons. All spills areas are tested and contaminated dirt removed for remediation. This underground pipeline will be monitored because spills cause a loss of revenue and producers do not like bad publicity or environmental problems. Anuild it, ship it safer and stop sending oil money to our enemies. As far as farmers go, we all like to eat but over fertilization has caused rivers to die, pesticides have caused useful insects to decline in population so there is a consequence for mass producing food also. Maybe farmers should clean up some of their environmental issues as well as the oil producers have.

  64. Just one of the many projects this dink has halted.

  65. He has already waited to long

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