In a symbolic committee vote Wednesday, Senator Tim Johnson had the good sense to reject rank Big Oil propaganda and vote against the Keystone XL pipeline... sort of. The Senate Energy Committee approved Senator Mary Landrieu's (D-LA) pro-Keystone XL bill on a 12–10 vote, but Senator Johnson stuck with the nays.
Senator Johnson has been squishy at best on Keystone XL. In May, he said he prefers to let the regular State Department process, along with the current state-level litigation in Nebraska, proceed without Congressional interference. But he did not say Keystone XL is a bad idea. In March 2013 Johnson supported a resolution encouraging construction of the tar sands pipeline.
So with whom shall we replace Johnson's Keystone XL squishiness?
- Democrat Rick Weiland isn't afraid to tell the truth about Keystone XL. He says TransCanada's pipeline is a "big money con" much more risk than benefit for South Dakota, with only 35 jobs to compensate for the ongoing risk to our land and water.
- Republican Mike Rounds, whose dear old dad made enough money lobbying for Big Oil that he's not worried about the ACA cutting his Medicare, keeps pretending that oil from Canada is domestic oil and that oil sold to China will help us buy less oil from evil dictators.
- Independent Larry Pressler says South Dakota got little from the first Keystone pipeline in East River and that the U.S. will get little from Keystone XL. He'd rather we build a pipeline for Bakken oil.
- Independent Gordon Howie says we should let big industry, even foreign industry, do whatever they want.
President Obama has left this issue on the table for another election cycle, so the Senate candidates will have a chance to educate voters about the Keystone XL pipeline through November. Or, more accurately, Weiland and Pressler will have the duty to educate voters and refute the Big Oil lies that Rounds and Howie are too happy to spread... and that Senator Johnson hasn't done enough to oppose.