Senator Cantwell Votes Against Bill to Approve the Keystone XL Pipeline

Cantwell: ‘I still hope the president of the United States will veto this legislation’

January 29, 2015

Video from Ranking Member Cantwell’s floor speech

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, voted against legislation that would approve the Keystone XL Pipeline. In a floor speech, Sen. Cantwell said she was concerned about a deal to help a special interest. She also expressed concern about an increasing number of U.S. pipeline accidents and the environmental risk of spills involving heavier tar sands crude oil spills.

The Senate passed the Keystone legislation, 62-36, after nearly four weeks of debate and votes on 41 amendments.

“I still hope that the president of the United States will veto this legislation because I want him to be able to negotiate the terms and agreements by which this pipeline is going to be built,” Sen. Cantwell said in a speech on the U.S. Senate floor. “I want him to protect the American economy. I want him to protect American farmers. And I want him to protect the American environment.”

Sen. Cantwell said she hopes Congress can move forward on developing broader, bipartisan energy policies that address energy efficiency and cleaner, alternate sources.

The Keystone XL Pipeline, which is proposed by TransCanada Corp, would carry tar sands oil from Alberta through the Midwest to pipelines linking with Gulf state refineries in the U.S., President Obama has pledged to veto the legislation.

“I remain concerned about holes in the legislation -- the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund and the fact that we still need to figure out oil spill cleanup processes on tar sands,” Sen. Cantwell said.  “I hope we can get our colleagues around the fact that the number of crude oil spills has been growing since 2009. I hope Congress will take a deep breath and get these issues, as they relate to safety and security, outlined and into law.”

Sen. Cantwell cosponsored amendments offered by Sens. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) to close the tar sands loophole in federal law that exempts tar sands oil producers from paying into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. Congress created the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund in 1986 to ensure that those responsible for oil spills in navigable waterways contribute to the costs of cleanup. The trust fund is supported by an 8-cent-per-barrel fee on oil. Tar sands oil companies, however, are not subject to the fee.