Senate Energy, Natural Resources Committee to Vote on Keystone XL Pipeline



The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will vote on legislation Wednesday that would approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline. It is expected that the committee will approve the bill, which Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) co-sponsored.

The voting of this legislation comes on the heels of Canada’s Finance Minister Joe Oliver, Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird’s visit to New York for media interviews and an energy conference. Canada’s intention is to keep the issue alive with the U.S. public and business, said Oliver, while arguing that President Obama has unfairly entangled the $5.4 billion pipeline with U.S. politics.

“This is a democracy, and I’m sure the government listens to the people,” Oliver said to Bloomberg.

The proposed pipeline has been an ongoing political debate and is in its sixth year of review under Obama’s administration. On Wednesday, when the committee meets, all Republicans that have a seat on the committee, Landrieu and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va) are expected to vote for the bill. Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), also on the committee, is expected to vote against the bill.

"If the Keystone XL pipeline were being routed through our state, Coloradans would want to know the decision was being made on the merits — and not congressional meddling," Udall spokesman Mike Saccone said in an email to The Hill. "That's why Sen. Udall intends to again reject the notion that lawmakers know better than the engineers, scientists and experts whose responsibility it is to evaluate the pipeline application on its merits."

Many speculate that approving the pipeline in committee won’t increase the chances of it making to the Senate floor, as reelection is just around the corner.

Tensions between the president and the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is apparent, Oliver hinted, as Canada’s ability to develop its oil resources is slightly hindered because of the pipeline debate.

“It’s not going to vanish as a business issue for those who are going to be directly impacted” in the United States, Oliver said to Bloomberg. “There’s a real sense this is a very unhappy delay.”



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