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

By    |   Wednesday, 14 October 2015 08:55 PM

West Virginia's senators gave their bipartisan support to the Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act, but the bill was ultimately defeated when Congress failed to tally enough votes to override the president's veto.

West Virginia senior Sen. Joe Manchin disagreed with many fellow Democrats on March 4, 2015, as he voted in support of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. Manchin and fellow Mountain State Sen. Shelly Moore Capito, a Republican, were on the losing side of the vote in which pipeline supporters failed to overturn President Barack Obama’s veto of a bill that would have brought about its construction.

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Sixty-two senators voted to overturn the veto — five short of the 67 needed to accomplish that — while 37 cast ballots against the move and one didn’t vote. Manchin and Capito both voted to overturn the veto, with Manchin being among eight Democrats who were on the losing side.

Despite being from separate political parties, Manchin and Capito agreed in the debate over the TransCanada Corp. pipeline, which would carry 830,000 barrels of crude oil daily.

The pipeline would run from Canada
through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Republicans supported building the pipeline to create jobs while Obama raised concerns about Keystone XL’s potential effects on climate change and questioned how much of an effect it would have on employment.

The Senate voted 62-36 on Jan. 29, 2015, to pass a bill seeking to require construction of the 840-mile pipeline, which Obama had vowed to veto so long as federal environmental reviews continued, reported The Washington Post.

Of the Senate’s 54 Republicans, 53 voted in favor of the bill along with nine Democrats, including Manchin. The one Republican that did not vote was Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

Manchin on Feb. 10 urged pipeline opponents to "look at the bill," arguing on the "Fox & Friends" TV program that it would create jobs and increase this nation’s security by making it less dependent on foreign oil. Manchin said environmentalists should be less concerned about transporting the oil through the pipeline than the current method of using rail and truck.

The House of Representatives voted 270-152 on Feb. 11 to approve the bill, which Obama vetoed Feb. 24.

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Capito responded to Obama’s veto by issuing a statement on Feb. 24 that described it as a “disappointment” to West Virginians impacted by the Feb. 16 derailment of a train carrying crude oil in Fayette County in southern West Virginia.

The train caused an explosion that set at least one house on fire while several of its cars spilled oil, which entered the Kanawha River and caught fire, forcing the evacuation of the surrounding area, NBC News reported.

“Last week's crash illustrates why pipelines are a viable and safe alternative to ship our energy resources. This commonsense project is a no-brainer for jobs, safety and the future of our energy economy,” Capito said.

All 54 Senate Republicans, including Capito, were among the 62 Senators who voted March 4 in favor of the unsuccessful attempt to overturn Obama’s veto. It indicated Manchin was among eight Democratic Senators who voted in favor of the override while 37 Senate Democrats cast ballots against it and one Democrat — Joe Donnelly of Indiana, who had voted in favor of the bill on Jan. 29 — did not vote.

North Dakota Republican Sen. John Hoeven, who introduced the Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act, said after the failed override attempt that pipeline supporters would try to attach Keystone XL pipeline approval to another bill the same year, Reuters reported.

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West Virginia's senators gave their bipartisan support to the Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act, but the bill was ultimately defeated when Congress failed to tally enough votes to override the president's veto.
keystone xl, pipeline, vote, west virginia, senators
Wednesday, 14 October 2015 08:55 PM
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