Most Americans Aren't Familiar with Keystone


Oil pipeline safety continues to be a huge political issue in Washington, but a recent poll suggests that many Americans aren’t quite so concerned.

An energy poll by the University of Texas found that less than half of the 2000 people surveyed were even familiar with the Keystone XL Pipeline, the controversial pipeline that would carry millions of barrels of crude from Canada to Texas.

Ever since the pipeline was proposed in 2008, it has been a hot-potato topic and a litmus test for President Obama’s concerns on energy and environmental issues. Of particular importance is the issue of climate change, with many environmental groups believing that approving the construction of the pipeline would be bad news for the climate.

Related: Keystone Showdown Likely for New Year | Bakken

Related: Obama Issues Keystone Pipeline Veto

Surprisingly, the U.T poll also revealed that only 6% of the Keystone opponents listed climate change as their main cause for opposition.  This seems very low, considering that climate change has been a key part of environmental groups opposition to Keystone XL.

The Washington Post theorized that “many people may view climate change as more distant and feel that most benefits of tackling it wouldn’t arrive for many years. Issues like that may not resonate as much with people as would more direct, immediate, tangible matters like our pocketbooks and the well-being of our local communities.

Obama Issues Keystone Pipeline Veto

Keystone Pipeline Veto
Keystone Pipeline Veto

The White House issued a press release this week to announce that President Obama has carried out his promise to veto the Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act. This action allows a final decision to be put on hold until further environmental reviews are complete.

The Keystone pipeline veto is the latest round in a highly political debate that has been raging since 2008, when the TransCanada Corporation first applied for a permit to construct the pipeline. At issue is a proposed 1,179-mile section of the pipeline that would run through the heart of the Bakken Formation in order to deliver 800,000 barrels of petroleum to the refineries on the Gulf Coast.

Related: Keystone Showdown Likely for New Year | Bakken

Related: No Need For Keystone XL - Continental's CEO Harold Hamm

Since the first of the year, President Obama has hinted at his intentions to veto anything the Republican majority might try to push through. Instead he has urged lawmakers to “pass a bipartisan infrastructure plan that could create more than 30 times as many jobs per year, and make this country stronger for decades to come.” Read more here.

In the official news release, President Obama stated “The Presidential power to veto legislation is one I take seriously. But I also take seriously my responsibility to the American people. And because this act of Congress conflicts with established executive branch procedures and cuts short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest — including our security, safety, and environment — it has earned my veto.

A backlash to the Keystone pipeline veto began almost immediately and accusations towards the President have accelerated, with some decrying his ties to environmental groups. The future of the legislation is unclear, but republican lawmakers are certain to try and override the veto very soon.


photo credit: Seal Of The President Of The United States Of America (license)

Keystone Bill Hits Another Snag

Heitkamp votes on keystone
Heitkamp votes on keystone

Republican senators attempted to wind down debate on the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline Monday, but the effort failed to receive the necessary support.

Republicans needed 60 votes in order to advance approval of the bill and end filibusters, but bad weather and absenteeism were blamed on the final tally of 53-39.

U.S. senator Heidi Heitkamp (ND), a long time advocate for the pipeline, authored five amendments to this piece of legislation last week. She believes the construction of Keystone is critical for the nation’s energy infrastructure. After yesterday’s vote Heitkamp expressed her extreme disappointment in the process

In a press release, Heitkamp said, “For years I have said we need to approve the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline so that we can build our energy infrastructure, increase our energy independence, and move our country closer to a true all of-the-above energy strategy...I’m still disappointed in the process that got us to this point. Congress needs to work together, which includes robust debate, calling up amendments, and voting.

In the following video, Senator Heitkamp speaks on the senate floor and urges colleagues to find common ground.

Obama Threatens Another Veto for Pipeline

President Obama to Veto Keystone Bill
President Obama to Veto Keystone Bill

On the very day that Congress reconvened, President Obama spoke out about his intentions to veto the latest version of the Keystone pipeline bill. This pronouncement escalates the standoff that has continued for over six years as lawmakers, divided along party line, have debated whether the benefits outweigh the potential risks of such a venture. The GOP has been very clear that this issue would be the first order of business for the 114th congress.

Related: Keystone Showdown Likely for New Year

Until now, the president has been vague about his intentions and as late as Monday was not speaking publicly about this. But that all changed on Tuesday when White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, announced that a veto is likely.

Earnest told USA Today that “I can confirm for you that if this bill passes this Congress, the president wouldn’t sign it either. And that’s because there is already a well established process in place to consider whether or not infrastructure projects like this are in the best interests of the country.

Understandably, the President's decision has been difficult and disappointing news for Republicans who had hoped that their newly elected majority status would change the outcome.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky said that, “The president threatening to veto the first bipartisan infrastructure bill of the new Congress must come as a shock to the American people who spoke loudly in November in favor of bipartisan accomplishments. Once again the president is standing in the way of a shovel-ready jobs project that would help thousands of Americans find work.


photo credit: Barack Obama via photopincc

Keystone Pipeline Set for Vote this Friday

Congress will Vote on Keystone Pipeline
Congress will Vote on Keystone Pipeline

As Congress heads back into session, GOP leaders wasted no time in submitting the latest version of the bill that would approve additional construction on the Keystone pipeline. The bill should come to a vote in the House as early as Friday before heading to the Senate early next week.

With all the controversy surrounding this construction, it has been quite a battle to get to this point. The application for this disputed section of the pipeline was submitted over six years ago and has been approved by the house many times. The difference now is that with a newly elected Republican majority, the bill is expected to easily pass both houses. The White House continues to remain silent about whether President Obama will veto the bill, though he recently shared his skepticism about its value to American consumers.

Related: Keystone Showdown Likely for the New Year

The bill’s author, Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), said in a statement that, “By passing this bill in the House and Senate with bipartisan votes, we can help provide the political muscle the president needs to finally approve this piece of critical transportation infrastructure, which will contribute thousands of jobs to the national economy and further our push toward national energy security.

The construction of this pipeline is crucial to transport the record amounts of oil (830,000 b/d ) being produced in the Bakken region to the refineries on the Gulf Coast. Currently, just under 70% of all the oil produced in North Dakota is transported out of the state by rail.  The Keystone XL Pipeline could alleviate some of the rail congestion being caused by the transport of oil, which would free up the rail service in North Dakota and across the midwest for the transport of other goods, primarily agricultural.


photo credit: DHuizcc