Stefanie Dazio of the Durango Herald reports:
Colorado environmentalists protested Sen. Michael Bennet’s votes on two nonbinding budget amendments about the Keystone XL Pipeline on Tuesday in Denver, calling the Colorado Democrat’s actions a crime against the climate…
Although neither amendment specifically calls for complete approval of the pipeline, The Hill reported that sponsors and backers say it was seen as a referendum on whether Obama should approve it.
Bennet voted in favor of both amendments.
Bennet believes the pipeline should be evaluated through the proper process, spokesman Adam Bozzi said Thursday in a telephone interview.
If it is judged to be a worthwhile project, Bozzi said, the senator would support it as part of a comprehensive plan that would include reduced carbon emissions and move toward renewable energy.
Although Sen. Michael Bennet and Colorado's senior Sen. Mark Udall downplayed their split votes on these nonbinding resolutions–Udall opposed them both–it's not the first time that Sen. Bennet has tracked to the right of his counterpart on energy issues. It's worth noting that the Keystone XL pipeline proposal would not positively impact the supply of Canadian crude oil into Colorado, since we already have a major line connecting the Athabasca oil sands with the refinery complex at Commerce City. There's a pretty good chance, Front Range consumer, that the gas in your tank right now originated in Canada. If anything, much like connecting Rocky Mountain natural gas supplies to major markets via new pipelines, Keystone XL could make our gas more expensive, since much of its expected capacity will be transporting crude oil for export.
The 350.org protesters outside Sen. Bennet's office yesterday were making a different argument, of course, and we don't want to take away from its validity. We just thought the most useful addition to the Herald's very good reporting on the issue is how the Keystone XL pipeline really isn't in Colorado's economic self-interest, either.