Energy & Environment

Senate panel cancels Keystone hearing after Dem objections

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) objected on Tuesday to a Senate hearing on the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

The hearing, originally scheduled for Wednesday by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, was canceled after the objection by Durbin on behalf of fellow Democratic senators.

{mosads}Robert Dillon, spokesman for Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the chairwoman of the energy committee, said the canceled hearing “does not slow down the Keystone XL floor process.”

“Sen. Murkowski was committed to moving legislation through regular committee order and having a robust hearing process. Working with the incoming ranking member, we had lined up witnesses from a labor union and the Center for American Progress (CAP) to testify on the Keystone XL,” Dillon said.

“Democrats will no longer have an opportunity to hear that testimony or make statements. We think that’s unfortunate. Meanwhile the floor process on Keystone XL advances,” he added.

The move by Durbin signals the deep divide between Republicans and the majority of Democrats who oppose the pipeline.

Hours after Sens. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) introduced legislation to approve the $8 billion oil sands project, the White House threatened to veto it.

Hoeven said as of Tuesday morning, nine Democrats have thrown their support behind the Keystone bill, including Manchin. Of those nine, six are co-sponsors.

It remains unclear whether the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will still be able to hold its scheduled Thursday markup on the bill.

Tags Dick Durbin Joe Manchin John Hoeven Keystone XL Lisa Murkowski
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