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Stabenow to vote against Keystone XL pipeline bill

David Shepardson
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — Sen. Debbie Stabenow said Monday she plans to vote against a House-approved bill that would greenlight the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

Stabenow, D-Lansing, told The Detroit News she won’t support the bill set for a vote on Tuesday that would end the Obama administration’s regulatory approval process.

The $8 billion pipeline would send oil nearly 1,200 miles from the Alberta tar sands to Steele City, Nebraska, and to other pipelines to U.S. refineries in Louisiana and Texas. Supporters say it will create thousands of jobs and reduce U.S. imports from the Middle East, while critics argue there are no guarantees the oil would remain in the United States and extracting the oil would hurt the environment.

The Republican-controlled House approved the bill Friday 252-161, with 31 Democrats from other states voting in favor but no Michigan Democrats supporting it. Eight of Michigan’s Republican contingent voted for it while Rep. Justin Amash, R-Cascade Township, voted “present.”

“I’m not supportive of the Keystone (pipeline) without making it very clear that if we’re taking the risks in our country ... then the oil should stay in America, it should be American jobs and that’s not in the bill,” Stabenow said.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit, has said he will reject the legislation.

Stabenow told reporters she will remain the ranking member of the Agriculture Committee that she currently chairs after Republicans take control of the Senate in January.

“I can work across the aisle,” she said. “Obviously, I would much rather be chairing the Agriculture Committee and setting the agenda.”

Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, is set to chair the committee. Stabenow said they have a strong working relationship.