U.S. Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, Republicans from Mississippi, have been strong supporters of the Keystone XL Pipeline. They were among the original sponsors of legislation to expedite the process in 2014.
“If the Obama administration is unwilling to make a decision on a project that would create thousands of American jobs and improve our energy security, then let Congress make it,” Cochran said in a May 2014 news release
. “The pipeline has been thoroughly reviewed, and there is no reason to keep it in limbo when we have demand for more energy and an economy that is not growing fast.”
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In the release, Wicker accused President Obama of playing politics with the issue, “jeopardizing America’s strategic interests and economic growth.” Although supporters said the project would create jobs and help make the U.S. energy independent, opponents had environmental concerns about the pipeline.
Legislation for the Keystone XL project was defeated in 2014, but Cochran and Wicker voted in favor of legislation again in January 2015 after Republicans took control of the Senate. Nine Democrats joined the Republican majority in a 62-36 vote.
However, as promised, President Obama vetoed the bill. The Senate voted on overriding the veto but fell five votes short of getting the necessary 67 for the two-thirds needed. Cochran and Wicker voted to override the veto.
Supporters of the Keystone project vowed to continue getting the process moving as part of other legislation. The Keystone XL Pipeline is a proposal to expand on the current Keystone pipeline, which carries oil from Canada through areas in the U.S., including to refineries in Texas and Illinois.
The Keystone XL phase takes a shorter route from the northern region of the U.S., moving from Montana through Nebraska. It currently goes east to Illinois. The proposed project also includes larger pipe.
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Proponents of the measure cite a report from the State Department that estimates the project would create 42,000 jobs, USA Today reported
. Opponents question whether those jobs would be permanent.
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