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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Keystone XL Pipeline: Northwest Senators Vote Along Party Lines

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Shannon Ramos
/
Flickr

Northwest lawmakers voted along party lines as the U.S. Senate voted Tuesday to reject a plan to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Fourteen Democrats voted with all 45 Republicans in the Senate to approve it. But it was one vote shy of the amount needed to send the measure to the President.

Washington Democrat Patty Murray told her colleagues she was against the pipeline.

"With all that we already know about the impacts of climate change, how can we possibly move this project forward before we have a thorough understanding of the environmental impacts that will result from building the Keystone pipeline?” she said.

Oregon Democrat Jeff Merkley, also spoke against the bill on the Senate floor. He said that the pipeline would simply deepen the country's dependence on fossil fuels.

"As members of the human family on this planet, with the moral responsibility to exercise wide stewardship of our resources for future generations, we must address this challenge of carbon pollution and we must do so now,” Merkley said.

Republicans could bring the legislation back next year when they control both chambers of Congress.

President Obama has expressed concerns about the pipeline that would bring oil from Canada to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico.