Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu, chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said the Keystone XL pipeline is going to stay on her agenda despite the bill’s failure to garner the necessary 60 votes for passage in the Senate.
“This was not on Harry Reid’s agenda, it was most certainty not on Mitch McConnell’s because they both told you what their agenda was and Keystone was not on it – but it’s been on my agenda and it’s staying on my agenda,” Landrieu, a cosponsor of the bill, said after the final vote on Tuesday evening of 59 in favor and 41 opposed.
“I’m going to do everything I can to help America become energy independent and to use the assets and the resources that we have and, most importantly, be a partner with our best ally, which is Canada, and our very promising new economic partner in Mexico,” she added.
Democrats joining Landrieu were Sens. Michael Bennet (Colo.), Tom Carper (Del.), Bob Casey (Pa.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Mark Warner (Va.) and outgoing Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Mark Pryor (Ark.) and John Walsh (Mont.).
By building the Keystone XL pipeline, Landrieu said America would be standing up to tyrants around the world.
“It makes sense for America to stand against tyrants like [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and the leaders of China in some ways that would force us to negotiate and trade in ways that are not in America’s interests,” she said.
Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Keystone XL pipeline would be an “early item” in the next Congress.
“I’m very confident Senator [John] Hoeven’s bill will succeed,” McConnell said.
Landrieu cosponsored the bill with the North Dakota Republican that would have authorized the construction of the pipeline. Louisiana Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy, who is running against Landrieu in the Dec. 6 Senate runoff, sponsored the legislation that passed the House.
Manchin said the pipeline project would have been beneficial for every state in the nation by creating 40,000 immediate jobs.
“When you think about a jobs bill and when you think about the security of our nation, this bill did it all. We buy 7.7 million barrels per day of oil from other countries,” he said. “I don’t think that makes us secure as a nation. This would help us tremendously.”
Manchin said he hopes the people of Louisiana know what a fighter they have in Landrieu.
“This day would not have come without Mary leading the charge,” he said. “We have to continue to fight for this. This is something that’s not going to go away nor should it go away.”
Heitkamp said supply and demand is the reason why gas prices have dropped below $3 per gallon.
“It’s supply-demand. It’s classic economics and when we have a supply of crude oil, not just from an OPEC or cartel country, but you have a supply of oil that goes into the free marketplace, that supply results in meeting demand, sometimes exceeding demand and driving energy costs down,” she said in a press conference after the vote. “So, today it’s not just about a pipeline. Today is about energy policy. Today is about energy consumers.”
On the Senate floor before the vote, California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein said the project would have little impact on gas prices.
California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer said the XL stands for “extra lethal.”
“This is filthy dirty oil,” she said in a speech on the Senate floor.
Hoeven said the 1,400 railcars that currently transport oil each day produce more greenhouse gas emissions than a pipeline.
“After five environmental impact statements, the Department of State says there is no significant environmental impact,” he said. “This isn’t me saying it. Read the environmental impact statement.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters after a policy luncheon today that his divided caucus “spent a little time” discussing Keystone.
“But in my opinion — and certainly, Senator Landrieu and others know the state of Louisiana better than I do — the race is not over in Louisiana,” Reid said. “She hasn’t given up, and we haven’t given up on her behalf.”
A fresh Gravis Marketing poll has Cassidy ahead of Landrieu by 21 points.