Big money influences Keystone pipeline Senate vote

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline would carry tar sands oil from Canada across the heartland of the U.S.

Colorado’s senators split, with Bennet voting yes, while Udall casts a no vote

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — It’s probably not surprising that the U.S. Senate passed an amendment (62-37) in support of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. There’s money — Big Money — at stake, and new research from Oil Change International details who got what.

The 10 senators who cosponsored the Hoeven Amendment have on average received $807, 517 from the fossil fuel industry. That works out to 254 percent more  than the average senator not sponsoring the amendment, and a total haul of more than $8 million dollars, based on data from

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) was among those supporting the amendment. While the vote doesn’t commit the U.S. to the pipeline, it suggests there is widespread Senate support for the project, based primarily on concerns that a vote against the pipeline could be construed by voters as a vote for higher gas prices. Information about Bennet’s oil industry contributions are online here.

Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) voted against the amendment. You can see information on contributions here.

The non-binding Hoeven amendment — co-sponsored by Senators Hoeven, Baucus, Cornyn, Manchin, Roberts, Heitkamp, Barrasso, Landrieu, Murkowski, and Begich — supports approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, prejudging the ongoing review process currently being undertaken by President Obama’s State Department.

“This puts to rest any delusions we might have that the Keystone XL pipeline is about anything but money for the fossil fuel industry and their allies in Congress,” said David Turnbull, campaigns director of Oil Change International. “If approved, this non-binding amendment will not change anything in the process of the State Department’s review of the Keystone XL proposal,” Turnbull said.

“The only thing this amendment would actually do is show which Senators would rather follow Big Oil’s money rather than listen to the people who elected them.”


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