Senate Passes Payroll Tax Cut Extension Linked to Keystone XL Pipeline

This morning the Senate voted by a wide margin, 89-10, on a very short term (2-month) extension of the payroll tax cut, bundling it with the need to decide in 60 days whether or not to move forward with the Keystone XL pipeline. The House may vote as soon as Monday.

As the Republican strategy became apparent earlier this month, President Obama announced he would reject linkage of the payroll tax issue with pipeline issue. Now is the time to hold the White House and the State Department to their November position that no permitting decision can be reached without additional study. A study with any integrity will reveal profound, negative consequences of the pipeline for human health, the environment, energy security and national security.

For a far-too-little-heard, national security perspective on the KXL, there’s the November 10 public statement by Brigadier General Steven Anderson, former Chief Logistician in Iraq and Afghanistan, who stated:  My experiences in Iraq convinced me that the greatest threat to our security is our over-reliance on oil and that Americans must immediately take steps to cut our petro-addiction before it’s too late. The Keystone XL pipeline doesn’t help. This pipeline would move dirty oil from Canada to refineries in Texas and would set back our renewable energy efforts for at least two decades, and do absolutely nothing to move us off Middle East oil, to our enemies’ delight. It would ensure we maintain our oil addiction and delay making the tough decisions regarding energy production, management and conservation that we need to start making today.

So if they are forcing an early decision on the KXL – clearly the Republicans must be expediting a “no” answer.

Concerned citizens continue to pressure the White House to stand firm. This is the Administration’s pivotal opportunity to say no to dirty oil and yes to the development of renewable energy.

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