Keystone XL will wait for a better route through Nebraska.

A Republican proposal to speed up the construction of the Keystone XL crude pipeline that will run from Canada all the way to refineries in Texas was defeated by Senate Democrats on Thursday. This 7 Billion Dollar project being undertaken by TransCanada is an extension of the Keystone pipeline that is already in operation bringing synthetic Crude oil and diluted bitumen from Athabasca oil sands in Northern Alberta, Canada to multiple destinations in the United States.

The Keystone XL extension has come under fire from Environmental Protection Agency, who had originally criticized the draft environmental impact study saying that it was inadequate and had not fully analyzed  oil spill response plans, safety issues and greenhouse gas concerns, and needed to be revised. In a final environmental impact report released in August 26, 2011 the agency said that though the pipeline would not have a significant environmental impact it would have an adverse effect on cultural resources. Protests brought the matter before President Obama and in November 2011, the final decision on the Keystone XL was postponed to 2013, while a more detailed impact study is conducted.

Republicans have criticized this delay in the Keystone XL pipeline as irresponsible at a time when energy prices are soaring and the gas and potential jobs created by the construction and operation of the pipeline are desperately needed. While the White House has insisted that the President fully supports the Keystone XL pipeline and is just waiting for a new and environmentally sound route through Nebraska to give the final go ahead.

The Keystone XL amendment proposed by senate Republicans sought to remove the process of approving this project from the President’s control, and was among about 30 measures before the Senate which are mostly energy and infrastructure funding related. Senators also defeated a proposal to expand the available area for off shore drilling, and another by Democratic Senator Ron Wyden to block exports of oil and refined products from the pipeline.

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