The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Bonnie Davidson
The Courier 

Votes Tear Down Keystone XL Again

Tester Talks Pipeline With The Courier

 


“It'll pass guys, relax! It's been seven years, what's the hurry,” one commenter stated on a social media post by the radio host of Voices of Montana, Aaron Flint.

Once again the Keystone Pipeline has failed as the votes needed to overcome a veto in the Senate didn't come to fruition. A total of 60 votes were needed, and the final vote ending the debate was 53-39. The final vote was pushed to end the debate by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell-R.

The Courier interviewed Senator Jon Tester-D just over a week ago and he had stated they were drafting amendments and working to continue to gain approval of the project. He said that amendments and concerns about the economy were being discussed.

“It's been blown out of proportion on both sides; it is a pipeline, that's what it is,” Tester said.

He explained he'd rather do business with Canada over Saudi Arabia. Some of the amendments they were looking at would require to only use American products and employees to build the pipeline. Another had to do with concerns about the Air Force flying too low in areas where construction would be taking place. He also said that keeping the oil in the United States was something being discussed, along with not using eminent domain to buy property in the path of the pipeline.

“I still support it, amended or not,” Tester had said before the final vote took place.

He said no matter what took place there should be more work on other energy resources, but in the meantime the need and demand was still there.

“This is where we're at and this is why we should act accordingly,” he said.

When asked about misinformation about the pipeline, Tester stated that the availability of information is an issue. He said you have to make good decisions with good information, which means sometimes you have to go out and find the information.

In a press release sent out on Friday, Jan. 23, exactly one week after his interview with The Courier, he stated that things were frustrating and said that when they started voting on amendments to the Keystone XL bill that not everyone was committed to responsibly governing. He voted yes to require TransCanada to use U.S. products to build the pipeline. That amendment failed, along with an amendment for eminent domain.

In that press release, Tester stated that after votes on a few more amendments that Majority Leader McConnell blocked members from receiving up or down votes on amendments or from speaking on the floor.

It seems Tester did not vote in favor of the pipeline when it came to vote on Monday. With his vote on the other side, and a number of absences from those who had previously supported the bill, the bill did not gather enough votes. Which means, in some ways, it's back to the drawing board.

Senator Steve Daines-R said this week that another amendment had been added to ensure that nothing could restrict pipeline safety inspection, like aerial surveillance.

During Tester's interview with The Courier, he said that he wanted to focus on the upcoming highway bill that would help with infrastructure, needed maintenance and investments for the future.

 

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