The Senate finally voted on the Keystone XL Pipeline. Unfortunately, it didn’t receive the votes required to pass. Want to see how they voted? Check out heritageactionscorecard.com to see how your Senators voted on one of the most important energy projects in recent years.
The Keystone pipeline continues to draw broad support from the American public, according to a new Pew Research Center poll. Overall, 61 percent of adults support the project. There is more support among Republicans at 84 percent and independents at 61 percent, but even Democrats are divided with 49 percent in favor of the project and only 38 percent opposed.
Interestingly, Democrats with incomes of at least $100,000 are the least likely group to support the pipeline at 36 percent. Those with incomes between $50,000 and $100,000 are divided, and those with incomes less than $50,000 show greater support.
Today, the House of Representatives will consider the Northern Route Approval Act (H.R.3), sponsored by Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE). The Obama administration has been holding up a decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline for an extended period of time, and it is about time the fundamentally sound pipeline should be part of American’s energy equation. It should be approved.
Yet, according to the White House budget office, the president has already threatened to veto the bill simply “because H.R. 3 seeks to circumvent and proven processes for determining whether cross-border pipelines are in the national interest by removing the Presidential Permitting requirement for they Keystone XL pipeline project.” In other words, the president is more concerned with maintaining control than in truly doing what is in the national best interest.
As Heritage’s Nick Loris has noted, Rep. Terry’s bill “does what The Heritage Foundation has been saying since the project turned from a decision about a pipeline to a political football. Since the State Department’s first environmental review concluded the Keystone XL pipeline would have no significant environmental impact, it would be a good idea for Congress to authorize the pipeline application submitted by TransCanada pursuant to its authority to regulate commerce with other nations.”
Furthermore, it isn’t as if this issue is only being trumpeted by House and Senate Republicans. Previous House bills have passed with the support of 69 Democrats. In March, during the Senate Budget Resolution vote-a-rama, a non-binding budget amendment vote approved the project’s construction by a 62-37 margin that included 15 Democrats.
For President Obama – someone who presents himself as a champion of the poor and middle class – approving the Keystone XL pipeline should be a no brainer, because the project would create jobs and reduce energy prices.
As Heritage has explained, it is the poor who are disproportionately and adversely affected by higher energy prices, since a much larger portion of their income goes to paying their energy bills.
It’s still possible that the President will at long last approve Keystone, but in the meantime he’s been gallivanting around on an apology tour with liberal environmentalist millionaires and billionaires for needing to help out the little people:
You may be concerned about the temperature of the planet, but it’s probably not rising to your number-one concern. And if people think, well, that’s shortsighted, that’s what happens when you’re struggling to get by.
It’s no surprise that some of Keystone’s biggest opponents are millionaires and billionaires, like Thomas F. Steyer, the hedge-fund billionaire, whose been very vocal about his opposition to the project and who was on the receiving end of Mr. Obama’s comment.
According to a Pew Research Center poll, 66 percent of Americans support the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, and this support spans most demographic and partisan groups. This poll stands in contrast to opinions from the left and environmental groups that public opposition to the Keystone pipeline should sway the Obama administration away from approving its construction.
Some people question the safety of transporting oil via pipelines and make the argument that since there is a risk to the environment involved in the transport of oil, the Keystone pipeline should not be built.
However, this argument is self-defeating for a number of reasons.
First, as the Wall Street Journal explains (sub. req’d) it is actually safer to transport oil via pipelines than by rail, and energy companies have been increasingly forced to ship by rail as pipeline capacity has been filled. Oil pipelines carry far more crude and have fewer leaks per mile than rails.