The U.S. Senate is expected to vote next week on new amendments to the Keystone XL Pipeline bill put forth by the Democrats, as well as one from Independent Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), which includes an acknowledgement that climate change is real and caused by humans. Sanders offered the amendment last week in committee. It includes language “affirming that ‘climate change is real;’ that it is ‘caused by human activities’ and that it is ‘imperative that the United States transform its energy system away from fossil fuels and toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy,’” according to the Huffington Post.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said debate will be allowed on all of the amendments. Sanders added that he intends to raise the issue on the floor. And while he agrees that the amendment is brief, he says that it’s a fundamental issue. “Whether the United States Senate will abide by scientific evidence, will come down on the side of science as we debate this enormously important issue of climate change,” he said.
More than 20 other amendments were offered by senators as well, including an amendment that the pipeline be built with American-made steel and that the oil be used in the United States alone. But it may be an amendment offered by Republican Senator Ted Cruz that brings the most dispute. He proposed that regulations on the exportation of crude oil and natural gas be loosened. Some are supportive of the bill, including Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, but others are unsure if such a measure will raise crude oil prices.
Votes on the amendments are not expected until Jan. 20, after Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Sanders hopes any eventual passage of the bill will face a veto by President Obama. In an interview with CNN last November, Sanders said, “The idea that we would give a green light for the transportation of 800,000 gallons of the dirtiest oil all over the world makes no sense to me.”