Who is standing up to the Keystone Pipeline?

21 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Dems add climate to Keystone mix.

The debate is the first since 2007 in which the Senate is taking up energy legislation with a broad range of amendments allowed, an approach promised by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.). President Obama didn’t even mention the Keystone XL oil pipeline by name in his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, but leading environmentalists are reading between the lines and believe they heard clear indications the White House is prepared to kill the project.TransCanada, the company seeking to build the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, said Tuesday it has filed papers in Nebraska seeking to acquire the final 12 percent of easements from holdout landowners along the pipeline path. Proposed by Canadian energy company TransCanada, an extension of the pipeline carrying tar sands oil from Alberta would pass through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, ultimately arriving at refineries around the Gulf of Mexico. The Kentucky Republican’s vow to stage an “open” — but not everlasting — debate on Keystone held up intact throughout a fast-paced first day of votes on legislation that would yank President Obama’s authority over the $8 billion pipeline.

Lawmakers voted, 91 to 5, to add the popular energy-efficiency provision to a contentious bill that would approve construction of the Keystone pipeline. Obama seemingly dismissed the pipeline during his highly anticipated speech, though he did not explicitly say which way he is leaning or if he’s any closer to a decision. “Twenty-first century businesses need 21st century infrastructure — modern ports, and stronger bridges, faster trains and the fastest Internet. The votes teed up for the Keystone bill are “not just some amendments that we here on our side have hand-picked,” Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said on the floor, but “an opportunity for some real issues to be brought forward.” High on greens’ watch list: Sen. The amendment, offered by a Republican, Rob Portman of Ohio, and a Democrat, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, is backed by President Obama and has broad support among members of both parties in Congress.

Under the easements, landowners would continue to own the property, but TransCanada acquires legal rights to construct, operate and maintain the pipeline through the land. Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, aimed at putting their Republican colleagues on the record about climate-change science. Efforts to approve the pipeline have had mixed success in Congress, where a bill failed in the then-Democrat-controlled Senate last year, but the Republican-run House recently passed a bill earlier this year.

Craig described eminent domain as “a last resort.” The company said it has made “numerous offers to negotiate generous agreements with all landowners.” TransCanada has encountered opposition from some Nebraska farmers and ranchers, who say they won’t sell easements to the company at any price. So let’s set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline,” the president said. “Let’s pass a bipartisan infrastructure plan that could create more than 30 times as many jobs per year, and make this country stronger for decades to come.

Kirk will continue to pay a political price.” The Senate held three votes on other Keystone amendments, with no significant stalemate in talks over floor time suggesting that McConnell’s “open” process promise was working — at least for the moment. Democrats grumbled about GOP moves to table their first two amendments, one that would block the export of Keystone’s oil and another that would require the use of U.S. steel to build it, but Republicans pushed back that their use of the procedural gambit did not mean they were blocking votes on the measures. “After we wear ourselves out talking, we will move to the bill” itself and bring the Keystone debate to a close, pro-pipeline Sen.

Whitehouse’s for example, simply states that climate change is not a hoax. “We’re going to have a vote to find out who the climate-change deniers in the U.S. More than 100 landowners have refused to grant right-of-way easements on their land to TransCanada, a fight that has been recently playing out in the Nebraska Supreme Court. Jane Kleeb, director of anti-pipeline group Bold Nebraska, said in a written statement Tuesday that landowners “are prepared to battle TransCanada in court to stop them from using eminent domain for private gain. … “Landowners will match TransCanada’s lawsuits in local courts,” she said, “and continue to take our fight to the one person who can put an end to all of this: President Obama.”

The president wants to retain the authority to make the final decision on approving the 1,179-mile pipeline, which would carry 800,000 barrels of oil a day from the oil sands of Alberta to ports and refineries on the Gulf Coast. Earlier this month, justices dismissed a lawsuit brought by landowners because the seven judge court couldn’t come to the five-person majority needed to overturn the state’s law which permitted the pipeline. President Obama laid out a clear case for climate action, and hit back hard against those who are sticking their heads in the sand,” said May Boeve, executive director of the climate and environmental group 350.org. “He said we need to think beyond a single pipeline, and made a strong case for developing sustainable, clean energy sources like wind and solar.

Republicans are opposed to Obama administration’s most contentious Environmental Protection Agency regulations, including proposed rules to cut carbon emissions. The president is clearly beginning to think about his climate legacy, and he understands that it depends on rejecting Keystone XL.” Other Keystone opponents cast the project in a broader light and said Mr.

Secretary of State John Kerry has set Feb. 2 as a deadline for other federal agencies to submit comments on the pipeline, a sign that the administration’s review is moving ahead. Shaheen, who have been working together for more than a year on the efficiency measure, say they hope the unusual display of support for it could pave the way for its eventual passage into law, even in a political environment in which energy issues have become fiercely partisan. “These are really not controversial provisions,” Mr. But they are hesitant to insist on amendments to block them because they don’t want to lose Democratic support on the underlying bill. “I’d like to keep it pure so we can keep the focus on Keystone specifically,” said Sen.

Portman said. “They’re consistent again with this idea that we should produce more energy, have the infrastructure to bring the energy to the consumer and do it in a way where we are using the energy more efficiently.” The measure is intended to cut homeowners’ energy use, utility bills and carbon footprints by, among other proposals, making it easier for consumers to buy “smart-metered” water heaters and cheaper for manufacturers to build energy-efficient cooling and heating systems. Backers of the bill hope this vote, 94-5, will display its bipartisan support so the senators can bring it to the floor again when a presidential veto threat isn’t looming. Joni Ernst, Iowa Republican, cast the bill as a job creator and argued it is long past time for the administration to make a decision. “Now, we’re working hard to pass the kind of serious job-creation ideas you deserve.

The company announced Tuesday that it had filed the necessary court documents to acquire through eminent domain the Nebraska land it needs for construction. Amendments are expected to be handled in at least two different ways, including an up-or-down vote with a 50 or 60-vote threshold and voting to table, or set aside, an amendment, which effectively kills the measure.

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