Backers of the Keystone XL oil pipeline hope a vote in the U.S. Senate will send a bill clearing the way for the controversial project to President Barack Obama. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) U.S. Senators debated the Keystone XL oil pipeline ahead of a vote late on Tuesday (November 18), which supporters hope will send a bill clearing the way for the controversial project to President Barack Obama. With the chamber apparently one vote short of ensuring the bill could overcome procedural obstacles, supporters including Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu were working hard to find more support. "The main reason is it will signal a great sign that America understands that energy independence for our nation is possible for the first time ever. And when I mean energy independence, I mean energy independence for the North American continent," Landrieu said, speaking from the Senate floor. Construction of Keystone has broad support in Louisiana, an oil producing state, where Landrieu faces an uphill battle to win a new six-year term in a December run-off election. Backers of the bill in the 100-seat Senate, currently controlled by Democrats, need 60 votes to prevent a filibuster by opponents. A companion bill easily passed the Republican-controlled House of Representatives on Friday. But many environmentalists oppose the project, saying it would cause carbon emissions linked to climate change to spike and that the oil could be sold abroad. Construction workers and other supporters say it would create thousands of jobs. Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer of California has been one of the bill's most vocal opponents. "It is not a good thing for this country. It is not a good thing for jobs. It is not a good thing for energy independence, 'cause it's going to be exported, all that oil. And it's actually dangerous. In my case, I was thinking what does XL stand for? They named it the Keystone XL - it has no meaning, but to me it's 'extra lethal'," she said, delivering her remarks on the Senate floor. Republicans generally support construction of the TransCanada Corp Keystone pipeline, which would transport more than 800,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta to Nebraska, en route to the Gulf of Mexico.