U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Statement on Keystone Vote

Senate GOP rejects amendments that would have ensured American economy and consumers benefit from construction of pipeline

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) today released the following statement after voting against Senate passage of legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. The Senate approved the measure by a vote of 62-36.

“Congress should not be in the business of approving individual pipelines, and I have serious concerns about the precedent this vote has set. If constructed, Keystone XL oil would flow from Canada, through American communities, and would be exported to other countries – potentially leading to increases in gas prices in the Midwest. This would be a price Wisconsin families and businesses should not have to pay.

“Unfortunately, Senate Republicans rejected efforts I supported to ease this burden and ensure the American economy and consumers would benefit from the pipeline if it were built, while protecting our communities from dirty tar sands oil. An Administration decision on this project has been held up for too long and I believe the President should make a decision without further delay.”  

Among others, Senator Baldwin cosponsored amendments to the Keystone XL legislation that would have ensured American consumers and businesses benefitted from the construction of the pipeline. Without the amendment introduced by Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), there is no guarantee the oil will be used in the United States as tar sands developers eye foreign export markets where they can charge more for their oil than here at home. An amendment introduced by Senator Al Franken (D-MN) would have implemented a policy to guarantee the materials used to build the pipeline are “Made in America.”   

In addition, Senator Baldwin supported amendments from Senators Markey and Ron Wyden (D-OR) to end a tax loophole for tar sands oil, requiring that tar sands, like other crude oil, must pay into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. Currently, tar sands oil is not taxed for this trust fund, which provides a source of federal funding to respond to oil spills, despite the fact that this type of oil spill is particularly costly and difficult to clean up.