WASHINGTON – First, the Nebraska court approved a route for the Keystone XL pipeline through the state. The U.S. House approved the construction of pipeline, for the 10th time. Now, the Senate is debating the legislation once again.
It’s the first big fight between the new Republican-controlled Congress and the White House. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) is hosting a high-profile, drawn out debate over the pipeline.
However, some lawmakers still stand opposed.
“I am going to continue to be opposed because we are talking about a pipeline going from canada to Houston. We take all the risk and then the oil is being shipped to china,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).
To avoid a veto, Republicans need to persuade four more Democratic senators to join the nine who already support the Keystone Pipeline.
Here’s the strategy: Senators are going to the floor with an open amendment process. That means they might try to override the president’s veto by attaching the Keystone Pipeline bill to other legislation that will pass with 67 votes.
“I’m going to offering amendments one dealing with petcoke which is a residual from refining tar sans oil,” said Michigan Senator Gary Peters (D-MI). “We had a real bad situation in Detroit which I represented in Congress where we had this petcoke blowing into people’s houses, blowing into their lungs. We need to realize with this kind of oil we are creating an awful lot of petcoke all across the country.”
Keystone Pipeline legislation already passed in the house, 266-153, with 28 Democrats in support.
Congressman Dan Kildee (D-MI) wasn’t one of them.
“This bill grants authority to a single company to move oil sans through the us to our southern border for export to other countries and it exempts the company from many of the protections that we would like to see adhered to that protect our environment,” he said.
The long-stalled project has become a symbolic fight.Lines are drawn between Democrats and Republicans- between Congress and the president –between the oil industry and environmentalists. All over the proposed pipeline that would make up just a small fraction of the nation’s web of oil pipelines.