Sen. Heidi Heitkamp from North Dakota, a long-time Democratic supporter of the Keystone XL pipeline, told CNBC on Wednesday that approval for the project may have failed this time around, but it will pass next year when Republicans take control of the Senate.
The legislation that fell short in the Senate and passed last week in the GOP-controlled House would have bypassed the federal review process on the Alberta, Canada-to-Nebraska pipeline, which is currently being held up by a pending Nebraska Supreme Court decision. A state lower court ruling invalidated the governor's decision to allow the Keystone XL pipeline to pass through Nebraska.
"We could have probably picked up a couple more [votes] had that process been completed," Heitkamp said in a "Squawk Box" interview. "The question is what is the president going to do with it once the Nebraska decision comes through. What's his final decision going to be? And then if he decides to veto … do we have enough votes to override?"
The Democrat-controlled Senate Tuesday night was one vote short of the 60 votes required to approve the pipeline, which TransCanada first proposed in 2008 to help transport oil from the Bakken region — encompassing parts of Canada, Montana and North Dakota.
"It's a pipeline. It shouldn't be a cause. It's an essential piece of the infrastructure," said Heitkamp, who argued that the project would help keep gas prices lower by enabling easier access to oil supply.
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