The lengthy ordeal of the Keystone XL pipeline seemed to end earlier this year, when a vote to override a presidential veto failed narrowly in the U.S. Senate.
A bill to approve the construction of the highly contentious pipeline — which could've transported up to 830,000 barrels of oil a day from Hardisty, Alberta, through Montana and South Dakota to Steele City, Nebraska — had initially been defeated in November 2014, but a new Republican Congress approved it in January and sent it to President Obama, who issued a veto.
The call to override the veto went 62-37, but that was five votes short of the required 67 (two-thirds) yes votes that would've restarted the plan for a Canadian company to construct the 1,179-mile pipeline.
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In Ohio, the votes were split along party lines. Republican Rob Portman supported the pipeline
and the veto override, arguing that it would create many jobs and boost the economy.
"I'm disappointed that the President chose to veto the Keystone pipeline, a bipartisan, commonsense, and job-creating energy initiative," Portman said shortly after the veto. "The legislation included provisions of my energy efficiency amendment that have garnered support from across the aisle, even from the White House. I would have hoped that the President could put politics aside and support this bill to create good-paying jobs, boost our economy, and help America become more energy independent."
Democrat Sherrod Brown opposed the pipeline, backed Obama's veto, and couldn't see the benefit for Ohio residents.
"Professionals, not politicians, should be making this decision," he told The Columbus Dispatch
. "We should be passing a real infrastructure bill that puts hundreds of thousands of Americans to work instead of a bill that is for the benefit of a Canadian oil company and could raise gas prices for Ohioans."
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Both senators voted similarly in the original November vote.
The pipeline itself has become emblematic of the divide between environmentalists and the oil industry, and spilled into a political fight. Originally proposed in 2005, it was nearly approved in 2011 by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; by then, climate change advocates seized on it to send a message.
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