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The Beginning and End of Mary Landrieu's Keystone Push -- Energy Edge Brought to You by Chevron The Beginning and End of Mary Landrieu's Keystone Push -- Energy Edge ...

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The Beginning and End of Mary Landrieu's Keystone Push -- Energy Edge Brought to You by Chevron


Mary Landrieu may be about to find out the limits of her power.


The Louisiana Democrat has scheduled a vote tomorrow on approving the Keystone XL pipeline in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that she chairs. Facing a tough reelection fight, she is sure to use the opportunity to demonstrate her Capitol Hill clout as committee chairwoman.

But while the bill is likely to clear the committee, the Senate's top Democrat signaled Tuesday that he's in no rush to bring the legislation, which would divide his caucus, before the full Senate.

Majority Leader Harry Reid suggested that Republicans, who strongly back the proposed pipeline, may have missed their chance in May. That's when negotiations aimed at allowing a Keystone vote in return for Republicans agreeing to advance an energy-efficiency bill collapsed.


"I agreed to give them a vote … they, the Republicans," Reid said at the Capitol on Tuesday, referring to the failed negotiations. "They wouldn't take it. Next question."

The Senate's No. 2 Democrat, Sen. Dick Durbin, was equally noncommittal and, like Reid, pointed the finger at Republicans. "We made that offer at one point before," he told reporters at the Capitol when asked about a vote on approving Keystone. "The Republicans wanted more."

Asked if the bill will come to the floor, Durbin said, "I don't think so," before adding: "But I don't know that."

For Landrieu, a strong backer of the pipeline and an ally of her state's oil industry, the rough path for a Keystone approval bill even if it clears committee exposes the limits of her authority. And the opposition won't hesitate to point that out.


"Mary Landrieu can bring this up for a vote every day from now until the end of the year, and it's not going to mean anything," Sen. John Barrasso, a member of the GOP leadership team, said Tuesday.

Ben Geman and Clare Foran


By Ben Geman (@ben_geman), Clare Foran (@ckmarie), and Jason Plautz (@jason_plautz)

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"It makes no difference who the majority leader is when it comes to energy policy since there is no present way to reconcile House and Senate notions of what constitutes sound energy policy." —William O'Keefe, CEO, George. C. Marshall Institute.

Read the full responses from National Journal's Energy Insiders.


MARY LANDRIEU'S BIG DAY. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a vote on FERC nominees Norman Bay and Cheryl LaFleur, as well as legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

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