Or the Planet Dodges a Big Bullet for Now
By Anita Stewart
November 18, 2014
The NASA scientist, James Hansen said many years ago that it would be game over for the planet if the Keystone Pipeline was implemented. He also said that it would be the “fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the planet.”
Last week the GOP-led House voted in favor of the bill by 252 to 161. Today the Senate voted it down by 59 to 41. Senate Republicans and a few moderate Democrats voted in favor.
Even though it was widely known that President Obama did not approve of the bill, there was no communication coming from the White House confirming that he would veto it, only a lot of speculation.
In response to the vote today, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune released the following statement:
“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.“
Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Barbara Boxer D-Ca., spoke about the environmental concerns of the Keystone XL:
“Misery follows the pipeline. It’s called XL which should stand for ‘extra lethal.’ A 45 percent increase in tar sand production means a 45 percent increase in hazardous metals and pollutions like lead and sulfur from the dirtiest oil on the planet,” Boxer stated as she switched between slides of oil spills and cloudy, polluted landscapes. “In terms of carbon emissions, this pipeline is the equivalent of adding emissions from 29 dirty coal-fired power plants to our environment.”
If the vote had passed, it might have been vetoed by the President. Environmental activists and organizations that have fought the good fight for over 6 years did not back down today and continued asking for calls and petitions. They filled lawmaker’s offices in Washington, DC and did direct actions in front of legislators’ homes.
Senator Mary Landrieu (D) sponsored the bill and brought it to the floor with a vote thinking that it would bolster her chances at a Dec 6th run-off election in her home state of Louisiana. She spoke to reporters after the vote stating: “For jobs, for economic opportunity, for independence, for energy independence, this fight was worth having.”
The current administration had said that it wanted to wait for a review of the long term effects of the project. The administration was skeptical that the project would bring more jobs and reduce the cost of fuel; what the backers of the project had previously claimed.
UPDATE: First Nation Sacred Song sung in Senate by Greg Graycloud of the Lakota Tribe in South Dakota after the KXL vote concluded: http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/watch/chant-interrupts-senate-after-keystone-vote-360525379878
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