Senate Strikes Down Bill Connecting Oil Pipeline From Canada To Oklahoma
TULSA, Oklahoma - The Senate struck down a bill Tuesday night that would have connected an oil pipeline from Canada into one in Oklahoma, sending oil on to the Gulf Coast.
The Senate only needed 60 votes to pass the bill after the House passed it last week.
Republicans say the pipeline would boost the economy, but most Democrats were against it because they said the pipeline is an environmental threat.
President Obama said he would have vetoed the pipeline if it passed.
Because it failed, Republicans said they'll take it up again in the new term when they control both Houses of Congress.
Many people in the energy industry in Oklahoma hoped the Keystone pipeline bill passed. They said it would bring hundreds of jobs and help the economy for years to come.
Wade Pilgreen is the secretary treasurer of the pipeliners local 798 union. The union represents 6,500 nationwide, including 450 in Oklahoma.
Pilgreen hoped lawmakers in Washington moved ahead with the Keystone X-L pipeline.
"It's a political football, and I think that's all they're using it for instead of passing it for the workers and the best interests of the United States of America," he said.
The southern leg of the project began carrying oil from Cushing to refineries in the Gulf Coast earlier this year. Lawmakers were debating the northern leg of the pipeline.
"For our members, I'm saying it's going to be around 1,500 jobs throughout Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska," Pilgreen said.
But what about jobs for Oklahomans?
Even though construction of the Oklahoma portion of the pipeline is already finished, Pilgreen said it would still benefit the state.
He said pipeline workers from our state would travel north to work on the pipeline if the Keystone X-L had been approved.
"All them will travel to different states and they bring that money back," Pilgreen said.
He said it would also benefit Oklahoma's economy by creating indirect jobs for businesses that make parts, like gauges and valves.
"Every time they get a pipeline, not just the Keystone, or any pipeline, Tulsa benefits from it," he said.
Pilgreen said he does think the pipeline will happen at some point.
"It's going to pass. I don't know if it's right now, or another year down the road or two years, but it's going to go eventually," he said.
Environmentalists have pressed Obama to reject the Keystone pipeline as proof of his commitment to curb global warming, even though a State Department environmental review said it would not worsen the problem.