Vote on US pipeline defeated by one vote

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Washington | Published: November 20, 2014 1:55:42 AM

By a single vote, Senate Democrats stopped a legislation that would have approved construction of the Keystone XL pipeline...

By a single vote, Senate Democrats stopped a legislation that would have approved construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, one of the most fractious and expensive battles of the Obama presidency.

The vote represented a victory for the environmental movement, but the fight had taken on larger dimensions as a proxy war between Republicans, who argued that the project was vital for job creation, and President Barack Obama, who had delayed a decision on building it.

The Bill was defeated with 59 votes in favour and 41 against.

The vote was also a reflection of how a once-obscure pipeline blew up into a national political battle between environmentalists and the oil industry. Although the TransCanada company proposed the pipeline in 2005, it generated so little attention that secretary of state Hillary Clinton was poised to approve it in 2011 with little fanfare.

But at that point, environmentalists looking to press Obama to act on climate change issues seized it as a potent symbol, leading to protests outside the White House and millions of dollars from environmentalists and the oil industry poured into political races on both sides.

Republicans vowed to bring back the Keystone Bill as soon as they return in January, when they will hold the majority. Republican  senator said he would immediately bring up a Keystone Bill when the new Senate convenes.

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