A Big Win for Wildlife: Senate Says No to Keystone XL Pipeline

woodland caribou

The boreal forest habitat of woodland caribou is threatened by tar sands extraction – one of the many impacts from the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Photo by Bruce McKay.

Today, the Senate voted again on a bill that would’ve approved the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The effort, initiated by Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), fell one vote short of the 60 needed for passage.

Ranchers, farmers, landowners, tribes, and citizens have fought this project for nearly six years now, raising serious safety and environmental concerns about the project and questioning the claim that it would enhance energy security, strengthen the economy or provide long-term benefits to the American people. As President Obama recently pointed out, just a handful of jobs would be created and much of the oil would likely be exported to China and other countries.

The tar sands oil carried by the project poses a substantial threat to our climate and a direct risk to the wildlife and communities along the route and at the mines in Canada, including threatened sandhill cranes, wolves, bears, ducks, geese and more. The project would also hasten the development of tar sands, which not only pollutes our water and climate, but directly threatens critical wildlife habitat in an area the size of Florida.

41 Senators stood up for communities and wildlife and said NO to this dangerous project, and we should applaud them for this (see below for the full list of 41 Senators who stood with us and should be thanked*). These four could especially benefit from hearing from you via a “thank you” tweet:

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). This is the third time Senator Klobuchar has voted with us to oppose Keystone XL. We will need her with us in the ongoing fight against the expansion of the Alberta-Clipper tar sands pipeline that runs through her state. Thank Senator Klobuchar for continuing to stand up against dangerous tar sands projects.
Tweet: Thank you, Senator @amyklobuchar for standing up for wildlife and clean air by saying NO to #KeystoneXL!Tweet: Thank you, Senator @amyklobuchar for standing up for wildlife and clean air by saying NO to #KeystoneXL!

Senator Chris Coons (D-DE). Given Delaware’s significant vulnerability to climate impacts like sea level rise, Senator Coons has long championed renewable energy and climate action. On Tuesday, he stood strong and voted against the pipeline enormous pressure to support the bill. We need to thank him for standing strong!

Tweet: Thank you, Senator @ChrisCoons for standing up for wildlife and clean air by saying NO to #KeystoneXL!Tweet: Thank you, Senator @ChrisCoons for standing up for wildlife and clean air by saying NO to #KeystoneXL!

 Senator Angus King (I-ME). Senator King knows the threats posed by tar sands, as groups in Maine have waged a fierce battle against the Portland-Montreal tar sands pipeline proposal that would run across his state to allow exports of tar sands out of Casco Bay. We’ll need Senator King to continue to stand with us against these dirty tar sands projects, so send him a thank you!
Tweet: Thank you, @SenAngusKing for standing up for wildlife and clean air by saying NO to #KeystoneXL!Tweet: Thank you, @SenAngusKing for standing up for wildlife and clean air by saying NO to #KeystoneXL!

Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA). Despite his fellow Virginia Senator, Mark Warner, choosing to vocally support Keystone XL, Senator Kaine stood strong and opposed the project, even going to the floor to speak against it. His bold leadership on this issue should be applauded.
Tweet: Thank you, Senator @timkaine for standing up for wildlife and clean air by saying NO to #KeystoneXL!Tweet: Thank you, Senator @timkaine for standing up for wildlife and clean air by saying NO to #KeystoneXL!

Despite the innumerable threats posed by Keystone XL, several Senators who otherwise have strong click and conservation records voted to approve construction of the pipeline. Click below to tweet a message letting them know how you feel. 

Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO).
Tweet: Senator Bennet (@SenBennetCO) we're disappointed you didn't say no to #KeystoneXL. We hope you'll stand with wildlife next time. Tweet: Senator Bennet (@SenBennetCO) we’re disappointed you didn’t say no to #KeystoneXL. We hope you’ll stand with wildlife next time.

Senator Tom Carper (D-DE).
Tweet: Senator Carper (@SenatorCarper) we're disappointed you didn't say no to #KeystoneXL. We hope next time you'll stand with wildlife.Tweet: Senator Carper (@SenatorCarper) we’re disappointed you didn’t say no to #KeystoneXL. We hope next time you’ll stand with wildlife.

Senator Mark Warner (D-VA).
Tweet: Senator @MarkWarner, we're disappointed you didn't say no to #KeystoneXL. We hope next time you'll stand with wildlife.Tweet: Senator @MarkWarner, we’re disappointed you didn’t say no to #KeystoneXL. We hope next time you’ll stand with wildlife.

Senator Robert Casey (D-PA).
Tweet: Senator Casey (@SenBobCasey), we’re disappointed you didn’t say no to #KeystoneXL. We hope next time you’ll stand with wildlife.Tweet: Senator Casey (@SenBobCasey), we’re disappointed you didn’t say no to #KeystoneXL. We hope next time you’ll stand with wildlife.

*Here’s the full list of 41 Senators who stood with us and voted NO on Keystone XL, who all deserve thanks: Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI); Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Senator Corey Booker (D-NJ), Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA); Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH); Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA); Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD); Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA); Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL); Senator Al Franken (D-MN); Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY); Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA); Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM); Senator Maize Hirono (D-HI); Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD); Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA); Senator Angus King (D-I); Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT); Senator Carl Levin (D-MI); Senator Ed Markey (D-MA); Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ); Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR); Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD); Senator Christopher Murphy (D-CT); Senator Patty Murray (D-WA); Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL); Senator Jack Reed (D-RI); Senator Harry Reid (D-NV); Senator John Rockefeller (D-WV); Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT); Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI); Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH); Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY); Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI); Senator Mark Udall (D-CO); Senator Tom Udall (D-NM); Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA); Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI); Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR).

**Here’s the full list of 13 Democrats that made the disappointing move of voting YES on Keystone XL (all Republicans voted yes): Senator Mark Begich (D-AK); Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO); Senator Robert Casey (D-PA); Senator Thomas Carper (D-DE); Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN); Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC); Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND); Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA); Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV); Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO); Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR); Senator John Tester (D-MT); Senator John Walsh (D-MT). 

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