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For Immediate Release: November 18, 2014
Contact: Jake Thompson, email@example.com, 202-289-2387
Jane Kleeb, firstname.lastname@example.org, 402-705-3622
Mark Westlund, email@example.com, 415-977-5719
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Jeff Gohringer, Jeff_Gohringer@lcv.org, 202-454-4573
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Whit Jones, email@example.com, 914-671-1880
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Elijah Zarlin, email@example.com, 415-369-2014
Senate Votes Down Keystone Approval Bill
The Senate voted today to reject a bill forcing approval of the
Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. In spite of heavy pressure from the oil
industry’s friends in Congress like Sen. Mary Landrieu, key Senators
held strong against the dangerous project, recognizing that the pipeline
would not be in our national interest because it would threaten our
land, water, and climate while bringing no economic benefit to the
as Momentum Builds Toward Rejection
Today’s vote is yet another blow to the pipeline’s prospects, as recent momentum has shifted against approval of the controversial project. Recent polling showed that as Americans have had more time to learn about the Keystone XL, support for the pipeline has waned. President Obama has also made it clear that he has serious reservations about the project, telling reporters last week that the pipeline would “[provide] the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the Gulf, where it will be sold everywhere else. It doesn’t have an impact on US gas prices.” The president has also reaffirmed his commitment to evaluating the pipeline based on its impact on climate, which experts agree would be significant.
Environmental and landowner groups applauded today’s vote as one more step in the road to rejection for the pipeline.
“Today’s defeat of Keystone XL should send a strong signal to the incoming GOP-led Congress that farmers and ranchers will never back down to their oil soaked intentions. We call on Pres. Obama to stand up and reject Keystone XL now,” said Jane Kleeb of Bold Nebraska.
“The bill would have turned Congress into a permitting authority, overriding environmental law, and giving a green light to a pipeline project that would worsen climate change and threaten water quality. The Senate did the right thing to reject the misguided bill, and now the president should do the right thing and reject the pipeline,” said Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
“We applaud the Senators who stood up for the health of our families and our climate by fighting back against this big polluter-funded sideshow. There’s no good reason the Senate should have wasted all this time on yet another meaningless push for Keystone XL. Since day one, the decision on the pipeline has belonged to President Obama, and he has repeatedly said he will reject this pipeline if it contributes to the climate crisis. As there is no doubt that it does, we remain confident that is precisely what he’ll do,” said Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club.
“Once again, Congress tried to play games with our future–and failed. Since Keystone XL has always been President Obama’s decision, this vote was never anything more than an empty gesture of political theater,” said 350.org Executive Director May Boeve. “Rather than letting Congress continue to play politics with our climate, President Obama should step up and reject this dirty tar sands pipeline once and for all. By dramatically accelerating the expansion of tar sands oil development, Keystone XL clearly fails President Obama’s own climate test. The pipeline is a lose-lose for everyone except for TransCanada. The President has all the information he needs to reject this pipeline now, and we’re going to stand by him to make sure he does.”
“We thank all the Senators who voted against this dangerous Keystone legislation, and we’re more confident than ever that this pipeline will never be built. The decision remains right where it belongs – with President Obama and Secretary Kerry. In the last week alone, President Obama announced a game-changing climate change agreement with China, committed $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund, and raised his strongest concerns to date about Keystone XL. This outstanding leadership builds on the Clean Power Plan and other clean energy accomplishments, and we believe that President Obama will remain consistent with that approach by rejecting Keystone XL,” said League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld.
“It is likely that for the next two years we will be faced with one of the most anti-environmental congresses in US history. Today, the movement in opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline defeated Congress’s first salvo and showed that we will not let Congress attack our public health and destroy the environment,” said Ben Schreiber, Climate and Energy Program Director with Friends of the Earth.
“This vote offers a glimmer of hope that there’s some sanity left in the Senate,” said Bill Snape, senior counsel with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Still, it’s really disturbing that the vote got this far. Keystone XL would be a disaster for our climate, environment and wildlife – we’ve got no business giving it serious consideration, especially for what it’ll do to the climate. Here’s hoping we can now move on to bigger, better energy policies that don’t put profits ahead of future generations.”
“Keystone XL is breathing its last breath, and it’s time for President Obama to rise to leadership and outright reject it once and for all,” said Kendall Mackey, Tar Sands Organizer with Energy Action Coalition. “Young people have voted, sat-in, and made our voices heard, and now that Congress has rejected Keystone XL, it’s time for President Obama to put the final nail in the coffin.”
“The pundits keep saying it’s inevitable that we will lose the tar sands pipeline wars, but activists just keep winning battles” said Steve Kretzmann of Oil Change International “This pipeline makes no sense in today’s oil market, before you even begin to consider climate and the rights of landowners. Republicans and oily Democrats need to face facts – Keystone XL will never be built”.
“After the recent election the Republicans expressed the desire to work with President Obama. We hope that Congress is serious about this and that they will stop having these votes and let the Presidential Permit process play out as it has been designed to do,” said Paul Seamans, a Dakota Rural Action member whose land is crossed by the proposed Keystone XL.
The approval of the Keystone XL pipeline is a line in the sand, but this isn’t the stuff of playgrounds. This dangerous project will threaten drinking water and make it extremely difficult to avoid the worst impacts of global warming. We applaud today’s vote and all those senators who stood up against tremendous pressure from the oil industry and its allies and did the right thing for our communities and our children’s future. Unfortunately, we know this isn’t the last time the Senate will attempt to do the bidding of Big Oil. Ultimately, we’re counting on the President to continue his leadership on climate and veto any measure to force approval of this dirty pipeline,” said Anna Aurilio, Global Warming Solutions Program Director with Environment America.
“This is the president’s decision, and he is going to reject Keystone XL, as he steps up and at long last starts using his executive powers to combat climate change,” said Elijah Zarlin, CREDO’s senior campaign manager. “All this Senate vote proves is that a handful of Democrats are standing on the wrong side of history to join Mary Landrieu in a last ditch effort to protect the oil industry’s profits.”