By Laura Barron-Lopez and Timothy Cama - 05/01/14 06:18 PM EDT
TO BE OR NOT TO BE: Proponents of the Keystone XL pipeline are on the clock if they want to get a vote on binding legislation that would immediately approve the pipeline next week.
It all started when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he wanted to bring the bipartisan energy efficiency bill co-authored by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) to the Senate floor, opening the door to Keystone XL.
Now, Sens. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.), two staunch supporters of the oil-sands pipeline, have dropped a new bill to greenlight the $5.4 billion project.
The catch: Whether to attach a binding vote on the pipeline as an amendment to the energy efficiency bill, or hold a stand-alone vote.
Republican leadership has expressed they would rather have an amendment on the pipeline, but Landrieu wants a stand-alone.
If a stand alone vote is agreed to there are still hurdles. Despite the new bill having 56 backers, another four are needed to meet 60 votes.
And while other Democrats are known supporters of Keystone, they won't vote yes if it means getting ahead of the administration's process.
As of Thursday evening, no agreement had been reached on how a vote would proceed. This one, folks, will be continued next week. Read more here.
ON TAP FRIDAY: Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will hold a conference call with Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) to announce new action on the nation's energy infrastructure and how to better prepare it for climate change.
Moniz is expected to discuss how the U.S. can strengthen its energy supply, and resiliency to mitigate extreme weather events, according to an Energy Department advisory.
KXL edition: A number of groups are chiming in on the latest bipartisan effort to push a binding vote on Keystone XL to the energy efficiency bill set to hit the Senate floor next week.
President of the Laborers' International Union of North America, Terry O'Sullivan, made an appeal to senators on Thursday asking that vote move forward.
“Americans deserve to know where their elected officials stand on this important energy infrastructure project that will help move the nation toward energy independence while unlocking thousands of well-paying construction jobs," O'Sullivan said.
Prominent oil lobby American Petroleum Institute (API) also urged Congress to act.
"The renewed bipartisan push in Congress to approve the Keystone XL pipeline should send a clear message to the White House that the American people want this critical energy infrastructure built,” said Jack Gerard, president of API.
But opponents on the ground in Nebraska, where a section of the pipeline's route has come into question, say any action by the Senate would only further delay a decision.
"The U.S. Senate is using a convoluted bill that sends only one message: they do not care about American landowners’ property being taken away through eminent domain by a foreign oil corporation," said Jane Kleeb, executive director of Bold Nebraska, a coalition of ranchers and landowners.
"We are confident the president would veto this convoluted and misguided bill in order to send the strong message that clean water and America's landowners deserve better.”
AROUND THE WEB:
Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels hit a new record in April, when they stayed above 400 parts per million for the entire month for the first time in recorded history, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
BP is cutting jobs in its shale oil and gas business in the contiguous United States, but it declined to give specific figures, the Houston Chronicle reports.
Officials have not yet determined what caused a train carrying crude oil to derail in Lynchburg, Va., Wednesday, but the National Transportation Safety Board said the train was traveling just below the speed limit, the Lynchburg News-Advance reports.
ExxonMobil Corp. announced a quarterly profit Thursday that beat estimates, due to the severe U.S. winter that increased natural gas prices, Reuters reports.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Check out the stories that ran Thursday:
- Better data might have helped prevent propane shortage, senators say
- Vitter offers to drop O-Care fight if Keystone gets a vote
- Minorities face greatest risk from chemical disasters, study says
- 56 senators back new Keystone bill
- Scalia makes a blunder in EPA dissent
- Oil-rich North Dakota sees highest worker fatality rate
- Udall to introduce natural gas bill that mirrors Gardner's
- As Dem support builds for Keystone, pressure's on Reid