WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin says he would support the Keystone XL pipeline, but he’s unsure the project will come up for vote in the Senate.
“They’re just in a political tug-of-war here,” said Manchin (D-W.Va.), speaking from Capitol Hil on Wednesday’s edition of MetroNews “Talkline.”
More than five years into the permit review process, the Obama Administration’s State Department has again delayed a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. The U.S. State Department is involved because TransCanada’s proposed 1,200-mile pipeline would cross an international boundary by carrying crude oil from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada, to Nebraska, en route to Gulf Coast and MidWest refineries.
On Capitol Hill, impatience is growing.
This week, there have been efforts to amend a vote on the Keystone XL pipeline into an energy efficiency bill the U.S. Senate is considering, but such an amendment was unlikely as of Wednesday.
Instead, the Senate could vote on a stand-alone bill as early as Thursday authorizing the Keystone XL pipeline. Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) have introduced that bill, with Landrieu calling the repeated delays “irresponsible, unnecessary and unacceptable.”
“They’re saying, ‘Vote Keystone up or down.’ No problem. I’m for it, I’m voting for it,” said Manchin.
As of Wednesday, though, Manchin said “They’re really caught up on amendments.”
If the U.S. Senate approves the pipeline project, it would next go to the U.S. House for consideration.
Supporters claim the pipeline would create thousands of jobs while helping improve the country’s energy independence, but opponents have refuted those job figures and pointed to the possible negative environmental effects of the pipeline.
If the Keystone XL pipeline is approved this year, TransCanada officials have said the pipeline could be in service by 2015— transporting an estimated 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day.