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The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Bill Nelson will vote for Keystone pipeline amendment, but not version Republicans want



The Senate this afternoon will begin to vote on a series of amendments to the highway transportation bill, including competing proposals for the Keystone pipeline.

Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat up for re-election this year, will vote against the Republican amendment that would allow Congress to approve TransCanada's $7 billion project, bypassing the Obama administration. But he'll vote for a Democratic amendment that would ban any exports. Both are destined to fail but everyone knows that. The intent is to give each party political points headed into the elections.

Even before the vote, one of Nelson's Republican challengers, Connie Mack, was needling him to vote for the Republican plan.

"It seems like folks view this issue as energy versus the environment, but it’s more complex," Nelson said in a statement to the Buzz. "I support the pipeline – just not in an area where it runs over an entire region’s water supply, which the folks in Nebraska don’t want either.  Instead, you move a portion of it to the east to parallel the existing pipeline that comes from Canada. Additionally, Congress needs to enact a requirement that the oil shipped from Canada must be kept in our domestic supply and not sold to foreign countries. Those are the circumstances I insist on for any approval of the pipeline."

One amendment does have a chance of passing -- The Restore Act, which would direct BP oil spill money to Gulf coast states, including Florida.

[Last modified: Thursday, March 8, 2012 12:52pm]


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