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Tags: keystone xl | pipeline | senate | vote | arkansas

How Did Arkansas Senators Vote in Narrow Defeat of Keystone XL Pipeline?

By    |   Friday, 25 September 2015 01:14 PM EDT

The Keystone XL pipeline, arguably the nation's most hotly contested environmental and energy-security issue, was denied approval for construction in 2014 by the margin of a single vote, narrowly defeating the largely Republican-supported Senate bill 2280.

If passed, the bill would have approved TransCanada Keystone Pipeline to construct and operate a pipeline from Canada through the Midwest to Gulf states waiting to refine the transported crude oil.

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Despite all 45 Senate Republicans voting for the bill, they failed to secure enough votes across the aisle in the 59-41 defeat. Only 14 Senate Democrats voted in favor of it against 39 from their own party in addition to two independents. However, while 60 votes would have passed it, the bill would have needed 67 votes, a two-thirds majority, to circumvent a likely veto from President Obama.

In future attempts at legislative approval for the Keystone XL pipeline, Republicans will be hard-pressed to find enough votes to bridge the slim, partisan gap, short of gaining a majority hold of the Senate.

But, at least in Arkansas, it received bipartisan support.

Arkansas’ two Sens. John Boozman, a Republican, and Mark Pryor, a Democrat, both voted for the measure. Both senators stated American business and job opportunities were the reason for them backing the bill and downplayed the environmental impact.

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According to Sen. Boozman, his state had lot to gain economically from the pipeline as Arkansas businesses would be providing the pipes. “This project will bolster the American economy — and Arkansas’ — once we move it forward,” Boozman said in a statement.

“In my home state of Arkansas, Nucor Steel in Blytheville and Welspun Tubular in Little Rock are two companies that should be employing people to work on pipe for the project right now. These are two communities in my home state that would have already benefitted from the project if the President had not been stalling the approval of the Keystone pipeline,” Boozman added.

Sen. Pryor voted for the bill because he felt the environmental concerns surrounding the pipeline were overstated. “It is going to get used, so you have to transport it somehow,” Pryor told Arkansas News.

“Rail cars or trucks or rivers, all those things could have an accident. Pipelines are the safest and cheapest way to transport fuels, in this case crude oil.” Pryor said.

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The Keystone XL pipeline, arguably the United States' most hotly contested environmental and energy-security issue, was denied construction go-ahead in 2014 by one Senate vote, a narrow defeat for the largely Republican-supported bill. But, at least in Arkansas, it received bipartisan support.
keystone xl, pipeline, senate, vote, arkansas
Friday, 25 September 2015 01:14 PM
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