Democrats block Keystone pipeline, but GOP vows new fight when it takes over

11/19/14
 
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from The Washington Post,
11/18/14:

Senate Democrats blocked a move Tuesday to compel construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, dealing a sharp loss to one of their own, Sen. Mary Landrieu (La.), who had pinned her chances for reelection on approval of the measure.

The vote was a victory for environmental activists who have turned defeat of the pipeline into one of the central symbolic causes of their movement. But Republicans, who will take majority control of the Senate in the next Congress, vowed to return to the fight next year.

On a 59 to 41 roll call, Landrieu’s campaign fell one vote shy of passing legislation meant to force President Obama to approve the nearly 1,700-mile, $7.6 billion project, which would deliver 830,000 barrels of oil a day from western Canada to the American heartland. With just 14 Democrats backing it, Landrieu’s bill fell victim to a filibuster by her own party. All 45 Republicans voted for the measure.

In rejecting the bill, the Senate has granted Obama a temporary reprieve from a difficult decision: whether to side with the environmentalists who have been his staunch allies or with many moderate Democrats who hope to use the issue to win over swing voters.

Already six years in the making, the Keystone fight had become a final rallying cry for Landrieu, a three-term senator facing a runoff election Dec. 6. With her Keystone campaign, she placed a political bet on demonstrating both her clout in Washington and her independence from a very unpopular Obama.

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