Friday, January 09, 2015

U.S.House Passes Keystone Pipeline XL Authorization Bill

The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled Friday that the Keystone Pipeline XL could move forward, thus removing the final reason President Obama had for postponing his decision. Unfortunately for those of us supporting the pipeline, he has signaled he plans to veto the legislation, should it come to his desk.

The ruling from Nebraska was far from a profile in courage - the project can move forward only by default.

The Nebraska Supreme Court on Friday approved the route for the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, reversing a lower court that had blocked the proposal and clearing the way for a U.S. State Department ruling on the plan.The court said it was divided and could not reach a substantive decision, leaving in place legislation that favored TransCanadaCorp (TRP.TO) and its claim to build a crude oil pipeline across the state."(B)ecause there are not five judges of this court voting on the constitutionality of (the legislation), the legislation must stand by default," the court said in its ruling.

President Obama chose to start the year 2015 by issuing three (3) veto threats and ushering in 300 new regulations.  One of the veto threats pertained to the announcement that the House would take a vote on the authorization of construction of the Keystone XL pipeline as the first order of business for the new Congress.  As promised, the House voted Friday on this authorization.  It passed, thanks to a new, energized Republican majority and twenty-eight (28) "moderate" Democrats. 

HERE is a list of the Democrats who voted in favor of authorizing construction of Keystone XL:
Twenty-eight Democrats voted with 238 Republicans to authorize construction of the controversial Keystone XL oil-sands pipeline during a House vote on Friday.The legislation, sponsored by Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, passed the House 266-153. The Senate is expected to begin debate on an identical measure early next week, despite a White House veto threat.Keystone XL, a pipeline that would ship crude oil from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf Coast, has driven a wedge into the Democratic caucus. Two major constituencies that traditionally support Democrats are at odds over the project. Environmentalists oppose Keystone XL, saying that its construction will worsen the problem of climate change. Labor unions, on the other hand, back the pipeline, contending that it will spur job creation.Several Democrats who backed Keystone XL Friday are members of the House Blue Dog coalition, a group of Democratic moderates. Coalition Cochairmen Kurt Schrader of Oregon, Jim Cooper of Tennessee, and Jim Costa of California sent a letter to the White House on Thursday urging swift approval of the project.

If President Obama was truly looking to get off to a fresh start with Republicans and work to sign into law bipartisan bills, this would be a good way to begin.  He won't as his words rarely match his actions.  Some of those Democrats on the list who voted in favor of the bill are normally the first to spew ugly against Republicans.  

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