Opposition to KXL among American Indians is strong. PHOTO Courtesy: Frank Waln
WASHINGTON — On Thursday afternoon the United States Senate voted on legislation to approve the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline by a vote of 63 yea votes to 36 nay votes.
The US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs is comprised of 13 members: seven Republicans; six Democrats. The controversial KXL pipeline is generally seen as a partisan issue – with Republicans favoring it and Democrats siding with President Obama’s opposition of it.
In Thursday’s vote, collectively the senators who serve on the Senate on Indian Affairs voted nine to four in favor of the KXL pipeline legislation. All seven Republican senators on the Committee voted in its favor with two Democratic senators crossing party lines to support the measure.
Here is how each voted individually:
John Barrasso, Chairman (Wyoming) Yea
John McCain, Member (Arizona) Yea
Lisa Murkowski, Member (Alaska) Yea
John Hoeven, Member (North Dakota) Yea
James Lankford, Member (Oklahoma) Yea
Steve Daines, Member (Montana) Yea
Michael Crapo, Member (Idaho) Yea
Jerry Moran, Member (Kansas) Yea
Jon Tester, Vice Chairman (Montana) Yea
Maria Cantwell, Member (Washington) Nay
Tom Udall, Member (New Mexico) Nay
Al Franken, Member (Minnesota) Nay
Brian Schatz, Member (Hawaii) Nay
Heidi Heitkamp, Member (North Dakota) Yea
In 2011, the National Congress of American Indians passed a resolution opposing the KXL. American Indians across Indian Country oppose the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
The proposed pipeline coming down through the Plains states has caused great concern, particularly among the Lakota in South Dakota. The KXL’s proposed pipeline route is right though the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations. It will cross the Oglala Sioux Rural Water Supply System in two places.
The KXL pipeline project is a 1700 mile long crude oil pipeline that would transport between 700,000 to 900,000 barrels of crude oil per day. This pipeline is planned to extend from Alberta, Canada and pass through the states of Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas on its way to the Gulf of Mexico for storage and export overseas.