By the time reader’s have accessed this article, interested individuals will already know that the vote for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline construction was defeated in the Senate. It lost by only one vote after the House previously approved the bill that would have allowed the pipeline to be built without further review from the State Department.
As NPR made clear, all 45 Republicans voted for passage of the bill. However, they were matched by only 14 Democrats. It would have taken only one more Democrat to advance the bill to the president for passage into law. President Obama’s view on the subject is up for debate. NPR has taken the position that the bill would not see his approval in its current state and that he would wait until the Nebraska Supreme Court ruling about that state’s pipeline location before issuing a decisive opinion.
The split in attitude regarding this controversial issue is nothing the American public has not seen before. There are several wrinkles in the subject that do make it stand out otherwise, however, including the fact that the Keystone XL section of the overall trans-continental pipeline would cross the U.S.-Canada border and therefore requires a special “presidential permit” for construction. TransCanada, the contractor responsible for piecing together the pipeline, has also provided its share of news — especially when it changed the proposed route of the line so it would not run through the region of Nebraska known as Sand Hills.
That said, perhaps the most interesting twists regarding the ongoing debate are those from individuals. One man, Grey Gray Cloud, a Rosebud Sioux tribal citizen, led a small group of American Indians in a victory song that ultimately resulted in the arrest of Cloud and the other individuals. They were reportedly charged with disruption of Congress — a misdemeanor.
Cloud is not the only person who opposes construction of the pipeline. He and many others have stood up to lawmakers and voiced their collective opinion that the project, while it could create many jobs throughout its construction, would result in the disruption of American Indian lands and would only further fuel American dependency on oil.
Jack Gerard, a representative of the American Petroleum Institute, who stands on the other side of the issue, told NPR that he believes the push for construction from pipeline advocates will not go away until the line is built. A GOP-controlled Congress will replace the current Congress in early 2015. If all else remains unchanged, the opinion of Republicans could soon force an additional vote to President Obama’s desk where he will be charged with making the ultimate decision.
Image courtesy of shannonpatrick17 via Wikimedia Commons