Senate Approves Legislation To Speed Up XL Pipeline Waiver Of Environmental Rules

Today, the U.S. Senate has voted to pass legislation that will force Barack Obama to make a decision about whether to issue a special waiver of standard environmental regulations for the XL crude oil pipeline, a project that would take thick sludge extracted from the Alberta tar sands and send it snaking all the way down the center of the United States, across the Ogllala Aquifer to the Gulf Coast.

The provision on the XL pipeline was agreed to by all but two Democrats (Joe Manchin) in exchange for only two months’ extension of unemployed benefits and a delay on a decision about payroll tax cuts. In January, the same drama will begin again, and Republicans, having learned that congressional Democrats will quickly bow to pressure, will be pushing for more drastic concessions.

The legislation still needs to be approved in the House of Representatives.

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