U.S. Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin of Maryland, both Democrats, have continually voted against the authorization of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Their opposition to the controversial project included votes against the measure in 2014, when Democrats controlled the Senate, and again in 2015, following a Republican takeover of the Senate.
Although legislation for the construction of the pipeline passed in 2015 by a 62-36 vote, it wasn’t enough to override a veto by President Obama, who sided with environmentalists objecting to the expansion of fossil fuels for energy production in the country. Mikulski and Cardin also voted against the override of Obama’s veto.
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The Keystone Pipeline has already been constructed from Alberta, Canada to areas throughout the U.S., east to Illinois and south to Texas. The Keystone XL project would construct a shorter route in the northern region of the U.S. from Montana through Nebraska with larger pipe.
Supporters of the project pointed to the State Department’s projection that it would create 42,000 jobs and make the U.S. more energy independent, USA Today reported
. Opponents, however, are focused more on cleaner energy production.
“Quality American jobs are being created in the oil industry and clean energy sectors without the ‘Northern Leg’ of the Keystone XL, which would transport oil for export and not U.S. consumption,” Cardin said, according to Capital News Service
. Supporters claim the U.S. would benefit from oil consumption.
Cardin said the project would be “for the shipping of the dirtiest oil located in Canada over the United States for export,” according to the Capital News Service. He argued that the Keystone XL would create significant environmental risks and produce few permanent jobs.
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Although legislation for the construction of the pipeline is generally divided between party lines, with Republicans supporting the measure, it also depends on political and geographical reasons. Former Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, an energy production region, voted in favor of the 2014 bill. She later lost in a run-off election to Republican Bill Cassidy who continued Louisiana’s support of the Keystone XL.
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