The two U.S. Senators from Maine voted on opposite sides in the debate over the Keystone XL Pipeline. Republican Sen. Susan Collins voted for the measure to expand the pipeline through the U.S. while independent Sen. Angus King voted against it.
The authorization to continue the controversial pipeline passed in a January 2015 vote in the Republican-controlled Senate. It followed a defeat for similar legislation in 2014 when Democrats controlled the Senate. However, the 62-36 Republican victory was not enough to override President Obama’s promised veto. An attempt to override the veto in March fell five votes short of the necessary 67.
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According to USA Today
, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, stated: “Constructing Keystone would pump billions into our economy. It would support thousands of good American jobs.”
Stating her reasons for voting in favor of the legislation, Collins said that America “must develop reasonable policies to advance the goal of energy independence,” according to MPBN News
. She said the move was a “safe, reliable and affordable” solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but environmentalists were concerned the pipeline would harm the environment.
Nine Democrats joined Republicans in voting for the legislation, but independent King said the pipeline issue was “masked as being about this country’s energy future.”
King said there should be a debate about substantive energy programs for the U.S. instead of focusing on the pipeline.
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The Keystone Pipeline runs oil from Alberta, Canada through areas in the U.S., including refineries in Illinois and Texas. The Keystone XL Pipeline is a continued extension of the oil pipeline that would shorten the route and add larger pipe through Montana and North Dakota. Proponents point to the estimate by the State Department that the Keystone XL project would create 42,000 jobs and help relieve the U.S. of dependence on foreign oil. Opponents worry about the environmental impact of the pipeline.
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