keystone pipeline

On his first day in his new job, freshly minted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., designated the Keystone XL pipeline bill as Senate Bill 1 --the first legislation introduced under his leadership.

That signaled more than just McConnell's own support for the bill. The prestige of being S-1 also conveys a sense of the priority and urgency Senate Republicans in general attach to the project, which would permit the pipeline to cross the U.S.-Canada border and carry crude oil from the tar sands of Alberta to the Gulf Coast.

The Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry crude oil from Canadian oil sands down to the U.S. Gulf Coast, isn't just an infrastructure project. It's also a symbol for the fight over the future of energy.

Producing oil from Alberta's tar sands emits more pollution than traditional oil drilling, so many environmentalists want that crude left in the ground. And more broadly, they want the world to turn away from climate-changing fossil fuels toward cleaner forms of energy, like wind and solar.

Update at 7:35 p.m. ET: The Senate voted against completing the Keystone pipeline.

The remaining portion of the Keystone pipeline project, if completed, will be fewer than 1,200 miles long — just a fraction of the existing 2.6 million miles of oil and gas pipelines running beneath our feet in the United States.

Two bills that would authorize building the controversial Keystone XL pipeline will soon come to a vote in Congress, as their sponsors — Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La. — head toward a runoff election next month to decide who will win the Senate race.

NPR's Debbie Elliott reports:

"On the Senate floor, Landrieu called for action on the Canada-to-Texas pipeline project, saying, 'I believe with a push we could actually get the votes that we need to pass the Keystone pipeline.'

Jay Nixon
File Photo / KBIA

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is supporting the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline, joining other Midwestern governors who are urging President Barack Obama to approve its construction.

KBIA file photo

Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder is among more than 20 Republican lieutenant governors urging approval of the TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline.

The Republican Lieutenant Governors Association said in a letter to President Barack Obama that more pipeline capacity is needed to tap oil supplies from formations in Canada, Montana and North Dakota.
The lieutenant governors contend construction of the pipeline would support thousands of construction and manufacturing jobs and would directly benefit many states.

L.C.Nøttaasen / FLICKR

TransCanada has restarted the Keystone oil pipeline that carries about 590,000 barrels of crude oil each day from Canada to facilities in the Midwest.

Oil began flowing again Monday afternoon. Company spokesman Shawn Howard says the system will be operated at a slightly reduced pressure for about 24 hours. Contractual delivery levels will resume in November.

TransCanada had shut down the pipeline Wednesday after tests showed possible safety issues.