The Senate voted down legislation on Thursday that would have paved the way for the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline — barely. Eleven Democrats joined 45 Republicans to vote in favor of the project, ignoring lobbying from President Obama himself. But the measure needed 60 votes to move forward, so despite support from the majority, it died.
Rest assured, however, that we haven’t seen the last of this undead monster.
Keystone first got a bullet in the chest in January, when President Obama, rushed by GOP leaders to make a decision, rejected the proposal. Apparently he forgot to take the headshot: Later that month, Republicans in Congress started introducing bills that would get the pipeline approved despite lack of cooperation from the White House and lack of a set route across the Great Plains.
In February, Republican leaders attached Keystone to transportation bills in both the House and Senate. Keystone opponents went bananas, firing off hundreds of thousands of emails to their senators. Obama threatened a veto.
GOP leaders in the House gave up on their version of the transportation bill this week, which left it to the Senate to decide whether its transportation bill would include the Keystone proposal. The vote to nix the amendment went down this afternoon.
End of story, right? They put a bullet in its brain this time, right? You wish. (And so, I might add, do we.)
Republicans are already promising to put the pipeline back into the transportation bill in conference committee, when final details are being hammered out between the House and Senate. It doesn’t bode well that the project enjoys majority support in both houses. (The oil industry is apparently confident enough that it will eventually prevail that it is already sending out triumphant press releases. Oops!)
Meanwhile, TransCanada, the company that wants to build the pipeline, is moving ahead with plans to build Keystone Jr., a section of the pipeline that would connect Cushing, Okla., to Texas oil refineries, and will push another application to connect mini-Key to Canadian tar sands.
And whatever happens with the transportation bill, with gas prices becoming a hot election-year issue, Republicans will no doubt haul Keystone out of the grave a few more times before it’s over. (Nevermind that the project could actually raise gas prices.)
Zombie Pipeline VI: Coming soon to a theater near you.