Bennet Takes Heat For Keystone XL Pipeline Votes

Stefanie Dazio of the Durango Herald reports:

Colorado environmentalists protested Sen. Michael Bennet’s votes on two nonbinding budget amendments about the Keystone XL Pipeline on Tuesday in Denver, calling the Colorado Democrat’s actions a crime against the climate…

Although neither amendment specifically calls for complete approval of the pipeline, The Hill reported that sponsors and backers say it was seen as a referendum on whether Obama should approve it.

Bennet voted in favor of both amendments.

Bennet believes the pipeline should be evaluated through the proper process, spokesman Adam Bozzi said Thursday in a telephone interview.

If it is judged to be a worthwhile project, Bozzi said, the senator would support it as part of a comprehensive plan that would include reduced carbon emissions and move toward renewable energy.

Although Sen. Michael Bennet and Colorado's senior Sen. Mark Udall downplayed their split votes on these nonbinding resolutions–Udall opposed them both–it's not the first time that Sen. Bennet has tracked to the right of his counterpart on energy issues. It's worth noting that the Keystone XL pipeline proposal would not positively impact the supply of Canadian crude oil into Colorado, since we already have a major line connecting the Athabasca oil sands with the refinery complex at Commerce City. There's a pretty good chance, Front Range consumer, that the gas in your tank right now originated in Canada. If anything, much like connecting Rocky Mountain natural gas supplies to major markets via new pipelines, Keystone XL could make our gas more expensive, since much of its expected capacity will be transporting crude oil for export.

The protesters outside Sen. Bennet's office yesterday were making a different argument, of course, and we don't want to take away from its validity. We just thought the most useful addition to the Herald's very good reporting on the issue is how the Keystone XL pipeline really isn't in Colorado's economic self-interest, either.

17 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Voyageur says:

    gotta disagree with the nottion that the pipeline is not in our economic interest on the somewhat whimsical idea that it will make gas more expensive because we will export more of it.   

    1-it's a world market, ultimately, and while transportation issues make lead to local anomalies in pricing, they are not ultimately crucial or long-lasting.  

    2-  exporting more stuff isn't necessarily a bad thing.  And improving U.S. balance of trade helps the strength of the dollar, making the stuff we import here in colorado cheaper.

         3-An imprtoving u.S. economy, fueled in part by export increases, is good for colorado, reducing the deficit, providing more jobs , and boosting my 401(k) balance.

        There are legitimate environmental issues involved with the pipeline and the tar sands.   But it's simply wrong to claim that we can isolate our state from the national economy and will be hurt by an increase in exports.   


    • Colorado Pols says:

      No one is talking about "isolating our state," our point is that there is already a pipeline for importing the Canadian oil that would be carried by Keystone XL to the Colorado market. Also, since Keystone XL is transporting Canadian oil, American exports aren't increasing–fairer to say North American exports would be we guess.

      Whether or not those exports would increase the price at the pump in Colorado is a minor point, though backed by basic economics. The main point is that there is already supply of Athabasca oil to Colorado, and Keystone XL won't change that.

    • gertie97 says:

      I'm with you, V. I live among the drill here, drill now, drill everywhere crowd and too many believe that if western Colorado is drilled to its last acre, then all our gas prices will go down. Export markets, trade balances and the like are lost on them.


  2. davebarnes says:

    Keystone XL is about 2 things:

    1. Getting the Canadians more money for their oil.

    2. Fucking Hugo Chavez.


  3. ArapaGOP says:

    Sen. Thurston Bennet III (Thanks, David Sirota) is apparently not a complete left wing lunatic like his colleague Mark Udall. I'll remember that in 2016 when it nevertheless comes time for a second Republican Senator.

  4. DavidThi808 says:

    I'm surprised anyone is surprised. Bennet is a very loyal Senator. Those that give him substantial donations get the votes they want.

    And no I'm not saying he's no different than a Republican in that office. When his major funders don't care on a vote, then he's free to cast a progressive vote. So on issues like women's health – big difference.

  5. Duke Cox says:

    I'm surprised anyone is surprised


  6. MADCO says:

    It's gonna get built.

    Hard to tell who is posturing more, but ths pipeline is gonna get done. It screws inthe intermountain west a  little, it's gonna screw the residents who live down stream a bit more.  I don't mean Houston – I mean the water shed 'cause this thing is gonna be one filthy mess.  Its gonna be good for the port of Houston.  





  7. Sir Robin says:

     U.S. oil production is at its highest level in 20 years, while at the same time U.S. oil demand is at a 17-year low.

    Big pipeline rupture today in Arkansas.

    U.S. oil production is at its highest level in 20 years, while at the same time U.S. oil demand is at a 17-year low. y release a report finding no significant environmental reasons to deny the pipeline.

    On a side note (?) ‘Secret’ Environment Canada study warns of oil sands’ impact on habitat:


    Then there's China. The company is in the midst of a multiyear effort to gain approval to build Northern Gateway, a $6.6-billion proposed project that would take crude from the oil sands to the British Columbia coast, where it could be loaded on ships and sent to Asia and California. This seems like a better alternative to me.

    The US could become the world's #1 oil producer. I believe its misguided for a number of reasons, the environment being the main cause for concern



    • Gray in Mountains says:

      @Robin I agree that, if the Canadians want it, a pipeline to W Canada prior to shipping to China is a better alternative than Keystone. Pipelines are messy. They fail. Every one of them. When they fail it damages the environment. Water, air and soil. Only the 3 most important aspects of the environment

  8. Duke Cox says:

    a pipeline to W Canada prior to shipping to China is a better alternative than Keystone.

    As I understand it, the route through BC is the Canadian govt. and industries' first choice. The Keystone idea is plan B. The Native Americans in western Canada are not keen on running a pipeline through their backyard either… particularly in view of the devastation being wrought on the Athabasca river and its environs by the strip mining of said tar sands.

    The world can easily do without this nasty shit, but, there is a profit to be made and as Dave said above, the Big Five would love to poke a finger in the eye of Venezuela. The one BIG lie that you will hear is that this is somehow connected to our "energy security". Nothing could be further from the truth. Exxon /Mobil couldn't give a shit less about our country and its security.

    Big oil is planning on turning the US into an oil and gas exporter because they can make far more profit producing fossil fuels domestically and selling it to the world than the other way around.

    It is never about anything but profit…never.

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