Obama rejects Keystone pipeline – here's how MN's US lawmakers have voted


The construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, a proposal that's been a political battle for years, was shut down by President Barack Obama Friday.

Explaining the decision to deny the permits that would have allowed the Canadian company behind the project to begin building, Obama said the State Department concluded the pipeline would not benefit U.S. interests, and he agreed.

The proposed pipeline would have been more than 1,100 miles long, and carried petroleum from fields in Canada, through the U.S. and all the way down to the Gulf Coast, CNN writes.

The seven-year battle over whether the U.S. should allow or reject the pipeline divided Republicans and Democrats, in what was essentially a disagreement over jobs versus environmental safety, and the changing energy landscape, the New York Times writes.

The pipeline would not have crossed through Minnesota, but there was plenty of interest in how our representatives in Congress were voting – especially when three Democrats from the state broke from the party and voted the other way. Some argued that no Keystone pipeline meant more oil trains were likely to roll through Minnesota, the Star Tribune wrote.

Here are the U.S. representatives and senators for Minnesota, how each of them voted on those bills, and a public statement they've released regarding the pipeline or the bills.

In January, the U.S. Senate voted on a bill to give TransCanada Corporation permission to build and operate the Keystone pipeline, 62-36, according to GovTrack. In February, the U.S. House passed the same bill by a 270-152 margin.

Obama vetoed it days later, and an effort to override his decision failed.

Sen. Al Franken (D)

Jan. 29, 2015 vote: Nay

Quote: "I voted against this legislation because I don't believe Congress should circumvent the regular permitting process for the Keystone XL pipeline. I've always supported making sure we don't short circuit the process, and as it stands now, there are still agencies that haven't weighed in.

– Source: Sen. Al Franken statement

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D)

Jan. 29, 2015 vote: Nay

Quote: "I believe that this project has merit, but I still don't think that Congress should be in the business of deciding where a pipeline should be located. ... I have always voted to allow the process to continue, to allow the president to make a decision."

– Source: "Meet the Press" transcript

Rep. Tim Walz (D)

Feb. 11, 2015 vote: Yea

Quote: "I support the Keystone project. I also strongly believe the project must follow federally mandated environmental health and safety requirements and TransCanada must prove to us that they can move this fuel responsibly."

– Source: Rep. Tim Walz website

Rep. John Kline (R)

Feb. 11, 2015 vote: Yea

Quote: “This critical project will free up transportation infrastructure in Minnesota – opening our rails to ship other products and crops produced in our great state – in addition to increasing our energy security, easing energy costs, and creating jobs.”

– Source: Rep. John Kline statement

Rep. Erik Paulsen (R)

Feb. 11, 2015 vote: Yea

Quote: “After six years of obstruction and delays, it’s time to build the Keystone pipeline,” said Paulsen. “This pipeline is better for the environment, safer for our communities, and more cost effective than shipping by rail."

– Source: Rep. Erik Paulsen statement

Rep. Betty McCollum (D)

Feb. 11, 2015 vote: Nay

Quote: “Additionally, this project would bring zero permanent jobs to Minnesota, and as few as 50 nationwide. Trading dubious economic benefits for potentially disastrous environmental consequences is simply not a trade I am willing to make."

– Source: Rep. Betty McCollum statement

Rep. Keith Ellison (D)

Feb. 11, 2015 vote: Nay

Quote: “Building the Keystone XL pipeline risks our land, air and water for a product and profits that will be mostly exported, and leaves American taxpayers on the hook for spills by a Canadian corporation. ... If we’re going to stop the worst effects of climate change, we must stop projects like Keystone XL.”

– Source: Rep. Keith Ellison statement

Rep. Tom Emmer (R)

Feb. 11, 2015 vote: Yea

Quote: “I support the Keystone XL Pipeline because I support economic and energy independence for Minnesota and our country. ... Construction of this pipeline will support thousands of jobs by increasing our GDP by nearly $3.4 billion, while also decreasing our dependence on oil from volatile foreign nations.”

– Source: Rep. Tom Emmer statement

Rep. Collin Peterson (D)

Feb. 11, 2015 vote: Yea

Quote: “We need to get oil in pipelines and out of trains. We need trains for grain. We need trains for coal.”

– Source: Star Tribune

Rep. Nolan (D)

Feb. 11, 2015 vote: Yea

Quote: “Nonetheless, this compromise legislation puts an end to almost seven years of gridlock, requires Keystone to comply with tough U.S. environmental protections ... ”

– Source: Hibbing Daily Tribune

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