This was a vote on an amendment that would have required most of the steel and iron used to build the controversial Keystone XL pipeline be produced in North America.
Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) offered the amendment to a Republican bill that would override President Obama’s denial of a permit to build the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. The pipeline would connect the oil-rich “tar sands” of Alberta, Canada, to markets in the United States.
Rep. Doyle’s amendment would have required the company hoping to build the pipeline, TransCanada, to document the source of its steel and iron. The permit to build the pipeline would not have been issued until TransCanada showed that North American steel and iron makers were the source of at least 75 percent of the material used in the stretch of pipeline on the U.S. side of the border.
“I support building this pipeline in a way that protects the environment and helps create American jobs,” Rep. Doyle said. “All my amendment does is ask for some truth in advertising. TransCanada has told us that they make every effort to source as much steel from U.S. mills as they can. I'm simply asking the applicant to certify their claims.”
Republicans argued that the amendment would kill the pipeline project because TransCanada had already purchased all of its raw construction materials. While most of it was milled in North America, some came from other sources, Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) said.
“There's nothing we can do about the material that's already been acquired. It's already purchased. So all we would do if we pass this amendment is we would make sure that the permit for this pipeline would not be issued,” Rep. Whitfield said. “If you would basically stop the building of this pipeline, we would lose all those jobs, we would lose all the additional oil that we would be getting, and we believe that there would be more negatives from it than there would be positives.”
Rep. Doyle’s amendment was defeated by a vote of 193-234. Voting “yea” were 179 Democrats and 14 Republicans. Voting “nay” were 225 Republicans and 9 Democrats. As a result, Republican legislation to authorize construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline moved forward without requiring that most of the steel and iron used in construction come from North America.