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Indiana Senators Vote To Approve Keystone XL Pipeline

Keystone Pipeline

Senators Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, and Dan Coats, R-Indiana, voted in favor of a measure authorizing the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

The bill passed by a vote of 62-36. It approves construction of the last segment of the pipeline, which will stretch from Alberta, Canada to Steele City, Neb.

"A strong energy economy is vital to both Indiana's and our country's economic success and critical to our national security," Donnelly said in a statement praising the bill's passage. "I believe the Keystone XL pipeline should be part of a larger, comprehensive strategy to invest in our infrastructure and energy interests."

Donnelly helped pass two amendments to the bill; one encourages investment in energy-saving technology and the other reviews existing programs and financing options that help with energy efficiency.

The Senate version of the bill is slightly different from the one the House passed, but lawmakers say those differences will likely be ironed out quickly.

Coats says the onus now lies with President Obama, who has promised to veto the measure.

"The president must decide whether to support energy security – particularly from the Middle East – and American jobs or to hide behind feeble political excuses," Coats said in a statement.

The pipeline has been at the center of a heated debate for years.

Supporters argue it will create much-needed construction and manufacturing jobs.

But, as NPR reports, opponent says the pipeline could have a negative impact on the environment.

Producing crude from oil sands emits an estimated 17 percent more greenhouse gases than traditional oil drilling in the U.S. In part, that's because it has to be heated to separate the crude from the sand.

Earlier this year, the State Department released an environmental review that concluded the Keystone XL very likely wouldn't have a significant effect on greenhouse gas emissions because the oil will ultimately be produced, even if the pipeline is not built. But environmental groups object to that conclusion and want the oil left in the ground.



The Senate version of the bill must be approved by the House, or Congress must hold a conference committee to work out the differences in the bills, before the legislation moves forward.

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