Reid signals he may schedule major vote on Keystone approval
April 29th, 2014
05:23 PM ET
3 months ago

Reid signals he may schedule major vote on Keystone approval

Washington (CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, signaled for the first time Tuesday that he is "open" to the Senate voting on legislation that would require the approval of the controversial Keystone pipeline.

"I'm open to anything that will move energy efficiency," Reid told reporters when asked if he would agree to schedule the vote as an amendment to a bipartisan energy efficiency bill expected to be taken up later this week.

Republican senators have balked at taking up that energy efficiency measure unless they also get a vote on Keystone, which has long been a top priority for their party.

If Reid agrees, it would be a significant shift for the Democratic leader who until now has refused to schedule a binding vote on the issue.

Reid has been juggling the competing interests of the White House, which is under pressure from environmentalists to reject the project and red state Democrats facing re-election, like Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, who support the pipeline.

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"That's a positive development," said Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the third-ranking GOP senator, in reaction to Reid’s comments. "I'm sure he's getting a lot of pressure from his members."

But Thune doubted Democrats would provide enough support for the measure to pass, which would likely require 60 votes.

"I don't think anybody over there is really for this." Thune said. "In the end, I suspect they'll do everything they can to prevent it from getting the necessary votes to actually pass but try and give some of their members a cover vote."

Related: Obama administration pushes back Keystone decision

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Filed under: Harry Reid • Keystone XL • Senate
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Bob Nolan

    A couple of interesting thoughts from a friend in the oil industry.... Keystone pipeline has allready been bypassed and will be a relic by the time they get around to approving it.. but it is a nice distraction from the truth of the situation... a bit long but worth the read...
    Does the Keystone Pipeline really matter? Maybe not as much as you'd think! Like a good magician uses mis-direction... so to do politicians, oil executives and the media. The Keystone Pipeline is supposed to be a 36" pipeline from the Alberta Oil Sands to Cushing, Oklahoma... then on to Port Arthur, Texas. Please note that the 36" line from Cushing to Port Arthur has already been built and is going into service within the next 30-60 days. At the same time, the Seaway Pipeline will be going into service by August at the latest. It is a 30" pipeline from Cushing, Oklahoma to Port Arthur, Texas.

    What about the rest of the Keystone Pipeline? The part that this administration won't approve to be built? Well... maybe it won't matter so much very soon. Keystone was projected to carry 880,000 barrels of Canadian crude oil per day to the Gulf Coast. A pipeline you've probably never heard of, the Flanagan Pipeline, is scheduled to be ready for service by August or September. It is a 36" pipeline from Flanagan, Illinois to (imagine that coincidence) Cushing, Oklahoma. It will carry 880,000 barrels of Canadian Crude Oil per day to Cushing, which can then use the already built section of the 36" Keystone pipeline to move that oil to the refineries.

    Where will the Flanagan Pipeline get it's oil? How about Pipeline-61, which is a 42" pipeline from the Alberta Oil Sands to Flanagan, Illinois. It is already built, already in service (but at lower flow rates now) and is being readied to handle a volume of up to 1,200,000 barrels / day from the oil sands to Flanagan by late 2015. What else is being readied now and scheduled to come on-line in 2015? Why the Eastern Gulf Pipeline of course. It is a 30" (former natural gas pipeline) from Flanagan, Illinois to South-West Louisiana. It should be ready for operation by Fall of 2015 and will carry between 450,000 and 650,000 barrels of Canadian Crude Oil per day to the coastal refineries.

    Now ask yourself.... do the politicians know this? Of course they do. Keystone is a distraction for environmentalists. The real pipelines have already been approved (or re-purposed) and are being readied for the real work. By the time Keystone si actually approved, it won't be financially worth it to build. Guess who owns the oil companies that will control the REAL pipelines? Now how do you think they influence the media and the politicians? The next time you hear politicians lament about the Keystone not being built... and ohh my how we will suffer for it... please know that they are telling you what they want you to hear.

    April 29, 2014 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  2. Kata Strophic

    What a joke. We EXPORT more of our OWN oil than we use RIGHT NOW. Everybody got that? We're not selling all of our own oil here because other countries will pay us more for it. So that takes care of the argument that Keystone will give us cheaper oil. If oil companies wanted to do a little charity and give us cheaper oil, we'd ALREADY have it. This, of course, doesn't even need to acknowledge the entire purpose of the pipeline was never to bring oil to the U.S. anyway–it's to get it to a port. You know, one of those things filled with water where ships can load up and sail elsewhere. As in to the highest bidder, as in not us but most likely China. As for jobs, haha. The high estimate was 20,000, provided to us by the oil companies trying to prove us total rubes. That number actually represents 10,000 jobs for two years. That means TEMPORARY, and it also laughably ignores that it's a given that Canadians will be getting a good bit of them anyway. You know, Canada's a great country. Or at least it was until tar sands, which has turned it into an environmental menace, although one must admit it's hilarious that Canadians won't give the go-ahead to them putting in their OWN pipeline to water. But heck, I'm digressing. I can think of nothing more stupid, nothing more frivolous (not to mention environmentally destructive to the point of no return), than to give billions and billions in foreign aid–with no strings attached–to a first-world country with better health care than us. This is such an exonomic boondoggle and upcoming environmental catastrophe we're going to look like the biggest fools on the planet if we give Canada such an outrageous freebie.

    April 29, 2014 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  3. Chris-E...al

    They should vote yes for the pipeline . It would be good insurance for our energy needs and our friends in the future . The future is something democrats dont think about or want to prepare for . Strange backward bunch no doubt . .

    April 29, 2014 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  4. Gurgyl

    --yes, it is environmental disaster. Do not pass. It will NOT create employment.

    April 29, 2014 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  5. NamejJK. SFL. VOTE THE GOP ANTI-HEALTHCARE PARTY OUT iN NOVEMBER AND THE NEW RNC CHAIRMAN CLIVE BUNDY SHOWING THEIR TRUE COLORS

    Why have a vote on the keystone , it does nothing for THIS country and ONLY puts money in the pockets of the Koch AMERICAN TRAITORS. The oil is ALL FOR EXPORT, the GOP LIES AGAIN!!!!!!

    April 29, 2014 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  6. Norma Vessels

    No keystone pipeline! Not ever! Isn't it enough that there's so much fracking going on, to cause earthquakes and sinking holes all over the place. No pipelines .. no more fracking .. stop the distruction of our land!

    April 29, 2014 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  7. Iamnotfooled

    Reid must already know that he has enough votes for it to NOT pass.

    April 29, 2014 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  8. Too Scruffy

    I vote yes.

    April 29, 2014 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  9. S. B. Stein

    I would hope that any damage done should the be paid for by the companies building the pipeline and the companies sending oil through it. There must also be a certain amount set aside now to do preventive maintenance to minimize the chance of a spill. That would make it less bad.

    April 29, 2014 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  10. Spgfld Tom

    If the vote in the Senate fails, Harry can always blame the "Domestic Terrorist". Why do the people of Nevada put up with this goofball? Does no one in Nevada know how to start a recall petition?w

    April 29, 2014 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  11. Free Man in the Republic of Texas

    OBAMA"S Poll numbers are dropping like a box of rocks

    Let's have a vote on the pipe line that will provide jobs

    April 29, 2014 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  12. Liz the First

    Step away from the Kool-Aid, Harry!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Stand up for the environment and JUST SAY NO to the disastrous keystone pipeline. the only people it benefits are the Koch brothers!!!!!!!!!! no more than a handful of permanent jobs will be created, the oil isn't for us, and the environmental consequences of burning all that filthy tar sand oil are staggering. pumping more of this most foul crude is like handing a junkie a needle full of heroin. we need to break our addiction to fossil fuel, not enable it. our survival is at stake, and anyone who can still deny that doesn't belong in a position of any power.

    April 29, 2014 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  13. Logictox

    Reid should do jail time for crimes against the American public.

    April 29, 2014 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  14. ED1

    All politics nothing else from Reid nothing else or the Democrats during an election year.

    April 29, 2014 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  15. greg

    Wow your stupid lol even the environmental report said the pipeline is better for the earth then the trucks or trains used NOW to transport it hey instead of spewing ignorant hate about two guys you don't even know who aren't even in the top three GOP donors perhaps you should look at the corruption from the left. You sir are why abortions are still legal

    April 30, 2014 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  16. Marie MD

    And it better be against it!

    April 30, 2014 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  17. devil's advocate

    Remember rwnj, big oil has limited its liabilities for spills, clean ups. How much did it cost to clean up deep well horizon? This stuff is much worse, and there's no ocean to dilute it, an ecological disaster waiting yo happen and they know it. What does their history on pipeline maintainence tell us, were in for big trouble. Our fresh water supply is already being called into question, they won't tell you how bad it will be, to worried about making more millions, they will stop at nothing to make more, shameless, and disturbing .

    April 30, 2014 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  18. devil's advocate

    No ocean to hide it, I should say

    April 30, 2014 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I don't want the Keystone pipeline approved.
    Too many cataclysmic oil-related events are within the realm of probability.

    April 30, 2014 07:51 am at 7:51 am |