Turn to the nation's most objective and informative daily environmental news resource to learn how the United States and key players around the world are responding to the environmental...
By Ari Natter
Jan. 9 — Senate Democrats are planning to use a vote on legislation that would deem the Keystone pipeline approved to put their Republican counterparts on the record about climate change and global warming.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) offered a preview of the fight expected to come when the Senate takes up the bill (S. 1) in earnest Monday when he offered a two-page amendment stating it's the “sense of Congress” that climate change is real and caused by human activities.
“It is the sense of Congress that Congress is in agreement with the opinion of virtually the entire worldwide scientific community and a growing number of top national security experts [and] economists,” the amendment said.
The fight comes as opponents of the legislation, which would approve the $8 billion pipeline to carry crude from Alberta, Canada, to refineries in the Gulf Coast, seek to cast supporters of the project as anti-environment, arguing that oil produced from tar sands creates more carbon emissions than oil from conventional sources.
“I am very worried about the United States Congress turning its back on science,” Sanders said during a Jan. 8 meeting of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “Turning its back on those people that tell us we have to cut carbon emissions rather than give a green light for the exploration and production for some of the dirtiest oil on this planet.”
Ultimately, the committee voted 13-9, with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) joining all of his Republican colleagues on the committee to table the amendment, which also states climate change has caused “devastating ” problems and that it is “imperative” the U.S. “transform its energy system away from fossil fuels” and toward energy efficiency and clean energy.
“I do think this will be part of the bigger and broader debate we will have when the measure reaches the floor,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the committee's chairman, said.
In an interview Jan. 9, Sanders said he plans to offer the amendment, adding “I hope and expect it will get a vote.”
For their part, Republican supporters of the bill, such as its author, Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), point to the State Department's own analysis of the bill which found that construction of the 1,179-mile pipeline would increase emissions by 27.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide a year over what a less-carbon intensive type of oil would release.
“This project will have no significant environmentally impact,” Hoeven said. “If you don't build the pipeline, this oil would be transported to China, where it would have higher emissions because it would be transported across the ocean by tanker.”
The pipeline, first proposed by Calgary-based TransCanada Corp. in 2008, would transport up to 830,000 barrels per day of crude derived from oil sands in Alberta and shale oil produced in North Dakota and Montana to a market hub in Nebraska for further delivery to Texas Gulf Coast refineries.
However, the White House has said it would veto the legislation because it would circumvent an ongoing review of the project being conducted by the State Department required because the pipeline crosses an international boundary.
Still, the Senate plans to spend weeks debating the legislation—with the first vote scheduled for Monday—under an open amendment process, which Democrats plan to use to their advantage.
Other amendments that may be offered include measures barring the export of oil and refined products from the pipeline and a provision that would tie the project to increased clean energy investment.
“The strategy is to try and find ways to draw a contrast between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to energy policy,” Jim Manley, a former aide to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), told Bloomberg BNA. “This is the first of many debates to come.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Ari Natter in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at email@example.com
Sanders amendment is available at http://www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/files/serve?File_id=8a1a3532-bcb1-447c-b384-03b50c6a36c9.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)