Photo by J. Scott Applewhite/AP
VICE News is closely tracking global environmental change. Check out the Tipping Point blog here.The sole Republican in Congress to vote against the Keystone XL pipeline blasted the bill that authorizes the project as "cronyism" bundled with intrusive federal regulations.Michigan's Representative Justin Amash wrote in a Facebook post: "The latest #KXL bill combines the cronyism of previous bills—specially exempting one private company from the laws and regulations that apply to all other companies—with new, unrelated sections empowering the EPA and the federal government with respect to local energy efficiency."
The House vote was 270-150 and follows Senate passage of the bill in January.The pipeline would funnel heavy crude oil from the tar sands of western Canada to refineries on the US Gulf Coast. Environmentalists have rallied to stop it, arguing that it would set back efforts to limit carbon emissions that fuel global warming. President Barack Obama has said he won't support the project if it worsens emissions, vowing a veto of any congressional legislation aimed at bypassing his authority to approve or deny permitting of the project.The libertarian-leaning, third-term Republican from Michigan is also an opponent of the National Security Agency's communications surveillance programs. He beat back a 2014 primary challenge from an opponent who called the Arab-American incumbent "al Qaeda's best friend in Congress," delivering an especially unforgiving victory speech after that win.An analysis by MapLight, which tracks political contributions, found that the oil and gas industry gave, on average, 13 times more money to House members voting in favor of the bill, compared to those voting against.