DECEMBER 2014, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News
Keystone XL pipeline construction to be a issue in 2015
BY PAUL TUCKER
REGION, December 4th- The United States Senate recently narrowly defeated legislation that would have approved the building trades supported Keystone XL pipeline. The legislation needed 60 votes for approval and it received only 59. Most Democrats voted against the bill while all 45 Republicans voted in favor.
However, Senate Republicans plan to bring the pipeline construction legislation up for another vote in January, 2015 after they take over control of the chamber. In November the party won enough seats in the November election to gain control.
President Obama has not supported the XL Keystone pipeline construction, which the administration has reviewed for six years. The majority of the pipeline construction will be built with American taxpayers money.
On January 31st, a President Obama Administration analysis of the Keystone XL pipeline stated it wouldn’t likely alter the amount of oil removed from the Canadian oil sands, suggesting it would have little impact on any future climate change. The report at the time was considered to be one of the last steps before a up-or-down decision by Mr. Obama on the pipeline construction.
However, President Obama in April extended his decision of whether to construct the pipeline project until at least after the mid-term November elections. He has since not pushed for the construction of the pipeline.
The proposed pipeline would be 1,179 miles long, 329 miles in Canada, and 850 miles in the United States. The pipeline would cross the United States border in Montana and travel through the midwest to Texas. It will be 36 inches in diameter with a total daily oil capacity of 830,000 barrels of oil. The lower portion of the pipeline has already been built and transports oil from Oklahoma to Texas.
The Building and Construction Trades unions support the pipeline construction because with federal money being used for its construction, the project would be built under the provisions of the David-Bacon Act, meaning better paying wages would be earned and most likely union members would be hired.
While construction unions and pro-oil business leaders support the development of the pipeline, most environmental groups and reachers in the region oppose it.