WASHINGTON -- The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved a bill on Wednesday that would force approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. But the bill isn't expected to go up for a vote in the full Senate any time soon.
The bill, cosponsored by committee Chairwoman Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), passed on a 12-10, mostly party-line vote. Landrieu and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) were the only two Democrats voting for it, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The Obama administration's decision on the pipeline has been delayed indefinitely amid legal disputes over the proposed route through Nebraska.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is not expected to bring the bill up for a vote in the full Senate, to the displeasure of Keystone's proponents. "I am pleased to move the issue of the Keystone XL pipeline forward, but I think we need to be cautious not to oversell it," Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said. "A vote to approve a project that I believe is in the national interest -– and that has been pending since 2008 –- should be an easy lift, but the real challenge is getting an actual vote on the Senate floor."
The bill's Democratic supporters also pledged to keep Keystone in the spotlight. "Today was the latest skirmish, and, unlike some, I'm not giving up until it is built," said Landrieu in a statement. "I’ve been in a lot of tough fights over the years, and the ones that matter the most are the toughest. I won’t give up on Keystone until we get it built, and I will press for a vote on the Senate floor."