Senate Blocks Bid to Speed Keystone; Baucus, Tester Vote in Favor

By Beacon Staff

The Democratic-controlled Senate narrowly rejected fast-tracking the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. The vote was 56-42 in favor of the amendment to the Senate’s highway bill, but 60 were needed for it to pass.

President Barack Obama, according to POLITICO, had “personally lobbied Democrats with phone calls urging them to oppose the measure.” But that didn’t prevent 11 Democratic senators, including both of Montana’s, from crossing party lines to vote in favor of the amendment.

In a statement following his vote, Montana Sen. Max Baucus said, “Montanans can’t afford to wait any longer to get to work building this pipeline. We’ve done three years of analysis and worked hard on strict environmental considerations – now it’s time to move forward on the jobs and energy security our nation deserves.”

Sen. Jon Tester, who also favored the measure, said, “Keystone XL will create jobs and I’m disappointed Congress missed another chance to move the ball forward. This pipeline will put more Montanans to work and increase our energy security, and I’ll keep fighting to see it built – and built responsibly.”

The president insists that the pipeline cannot be approved until it is rerouted through Nebraska to avoid the environmentally sensitive Sandhills region. And White House spokesman Jay Carney said it is a waste of time, according to POLITICO, “to legislate the approval of a pipeline for which there is not even a route.”

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