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The enabling bill for Keystone XL failed yesterday in the US Senate. Supported by all 45 Republican senators, it fell one vote short of the required 60-vote threshold. But the victory will be a temporary one, writes Alexander Reid Ross. The final battle can only be won by massive grassroots engagement and protest in communities across North America.
So the Keystone XL bill failed to pass Congress. The Big Fail marks a huge success for groups who have been struggling to expose the KXL for the dirty policy it represents.
The actions taken on the day of the vote, including disrupting the Senate vote in the chamber and blocking Senators Bennet (D-Col.) and Carper (D-Del.) from leaving their offices, speak to the dedication and tirelessness of the movement to stop the pipeline.
So we can all go home now, right? We won!
The problem is that the bill will be back in January, and the congress we’re dealing with right now is very different from the one we’ll see ushered into office at the beginning of 2015.
Just because the lame-duck Congress voted against the bill (barely) with its Democratic Party majority does not mean that the Republicans will have any problem sweeping it through when they take the majority.
The Democratic Party’s vote does give Obama a mandate to veto the bill next year if and when it goes through, but the question remains as to whether or not he will use it.
In short, the Big Fail and ensuing celebrations from the Environmental NGOs looks suspiciously like a setup. It’s definitely not time to demobilize.