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The Voter’s Speakeasy featuring unbiased reporting and insight into life at Project Vote Smart from our staff, interns, and volunteers.

A Vote Smart Guide to the Keystone XL Pipeline

2013 March 29

The Keystone XL Pipeline: it's been dominating headlines for what seems like forever. There have been a number of related speeches and protests, and passion exists on both sides of the issue. But what is it, and why does it matter?

The Keystone XL Pipeline is a proposed extension of the existing Keystone Pipeline. Keystone XL would run on the existing line from Alberta, Canada with the new extension going through Nebraska and on to the Gulf of Mexico. Like the existing pipeline, it would transport crude oil from both Canada and the United States. Though originally proposed in 2008, the project gained national attention in late 2011 when it came up for executive approval.

In November 2011, President Obama announced that he was directing the State Department to look into the feasibility of building the pipeline. Later that month, in a bill extending the payroll tax cut, Congress included language forcing the President to make a decision, either approving or denying the application, within 60 days.

Once those 60 days were up, the President ended up rejecting the pipeline. In his speech, he explained that the imposed deadline prevented a thorough review of the project's merits and drawbacks. But he made clear that was open to its approval in the future.

Congress has tried multiple times to allow the project to proceed without presidential approval. Two pieces of legislation included such language in 2012, though both failed to pass. One House bill sought to automatically grant the proper permits regardless of the ...

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March Common Ground E-Newsletter

2013 March 29

Click here to sign up for our monthly e-newsletter...

Developing Instantly Gratifying Data-base Visualizations

2013 March 08

For over a decade Vote Smart worked at various methods of building the Voter’s Self-Defense System.

Project Vote Smart: Experience and Lessons Learned

2013 March 07

Vote Smart exists to help citizens and organizations trying to provide citizens with easy access to abundant, accurate, relevant information about those who govern or those who wish to replace those who do.


2013 March 01

The “Fiscal Cliff” and how it relates to our most recent financial conundrum, “The Sequester.”

A Vote Smart Guide to the "Gang of Eight"

2013 February 28

Immigration: it's an issue that's been on the minds of a lot of prominent people involved in politics lately.

February Common Ground E-Newsletter

2013 February 27

Read this month's Common Ground E-Newsletter...

Primary in Illinois' 2nd District Special Election

2013 February 26

Six days after Jesse Jackson Jr. pleaded guilty to the misuse of campaign funds, voters in his long-held district go the polls to begin the process of finding a replacement.

Johanns Wont Seek Re-election

2013 February 18

Mike Johanns, the republican senior senator from Nebraska, won't seek reelection in 2014.

Lautenberg Won't Seek Reelection

2013 February 14

New Jersey's senior senator, Frank R. Lautenberg decided today that he will not seek reelection.

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