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Keystone pipeline measure fails in Senate by one vote

Senators narrowly rejected a bill Tuesday that would have authorized the Keystone XL pipeline, the controversial spigot for transporting Canadian oil to the Gulf Coast.

The final vote – 59-41 – fell one vote shy of what was necessary to pass the legislation. All 45 Republicans gave their support for the pipeline’s construction, while 14 Democrats also voted in favor.

The failure hurt the re-election prospects of Sen. Mary Landrieu, of Louisiana, in a Dec. 6 run-off against opponent Rep. Bill Cassidy, a Republican. Landrieu, a Democrat, sponsored the bill and pushed hard for its passage.

On Friday, the House passed the measure 252-161, including 31 Democrats who voted for its approval.

The pipeline, as conceived, would stretch over 1,000 miles and carry up to 800,000 barrels of crude oil daily from the Canadian tar sands to the Gulf Coast. Advocates of the pipeline argued that its construction would create jobs and help reduce U.S. dependency on Middle East oil while opponents said it would harm the environment.

Although the bill failed to pass on Tuesday, the Senate may take up the issue again in January when Republicans gain control. Future Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he is committed to another vote on the measure.