Billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer is praising the Senate for rejecting a bill to build the Keystone pipeline on Tuesday night, saying lawmakers stood "on the right side of history."

“This is a legacy-defining issue where one's position signifies whether they are standing up for or against the next generation on the issue of climate—and with today's vote, the Senate chose to stand up for the American people," Steyer said in a statement. 

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The measure failed in a 59 to 41 vote in the Senate on Tuesday night, falling one vote short of the 60 needed to advance. It is a victory for Steyer and environmental groups, though votes on the pipeline could return once Republicans take control of Congress in January.

It comes after Steyer received mixed results from the tens of millions he spent on Democrats in the midterms. 

“The Keystone XL pipeline is a bad deal for the United States and an even worse deal for the future of our children, our environment, and our economy," Steyer said in the statement. "The fact remains: the Keystone XL pipeline would mean millions of tons of new carbon pollution entering the air, and could also mean dozens of newly polluted waterways and poisoned communities all across the Midwest."

He also praised President Obama's environmental policies more generally. Fights with congressional Republicans on EPA regulations and a climate change deal with China are also simmering. 

“When it comes to doing right by our children, President Obama is already leading the way," Steyer said. "From the EPA’s Clean Power Plan to the historic climate deal with China announced last week to reduce pollution, this administration is already moving our country forward.”