On March 8, 2012, the Keystone Pipeline Expansion project died on the Senate floor, narrowly missing the 60 votes needed to pass the project as an amendment to a transportation bill with a final count of 56-42. Republican politicians remain optimistic that the Keystone XL project will remain a hot-button issue to drive out Democrats in the 2012 elections over theoretical employment issues.
A big sticking point among Democratic politicians is keeping the tar sands oil resource for American utilization and not use it as a foreign export to support other countries, where the United States would assume all of the risk and receive none of the benefits. The Wyden amendment, proposed by Democrats to keep the oil resource for American consumption, was crushed by the Republican vote with a tally of 34-64.
What both parties are ignoring are the empirical data presented by scientists toward the magnitude of negative impact this project would have on ecological viability and planetary stability. Most notable is the commentary of Dr. James Hansen, a renowned climate scientist for NASA. His works on the greenhouse effect date back to 1981. All of his scientific assessments to planetary warming are either at fruition or in the advanced stages of systematic outcomes. His research has led to the discovery that in order to stabilize planetary conditions, carbon dioxide (CO2) needs to be drastically reduced. Even without the Keystone expansion factored into the equation, the industrial impact on the Earth is already generating an energy output equivalent to 400,000 atomic bombs detonating each day, year round. Further research has revealed that the implementation of the Keystone XL scheme would start an ecological chain reaction outside of human control.
Many Republican politicians believe that utilizing renewable green energy resources is impractical and unsustainable, foregoing evidence that fossil fuel is finite whereas solar, wind, and other natural resources are not. American constituents keep their eyes focused on job security. The pipeline expansion does not meet that need for the nation but would put a number of Canadians, Indians, and Chinese to work. Both parties are likely to find that making the Keystone Pipeline expansion a frontrunner debate for reelection will ultimately turn into a political career killer.