Graham irks environmentalists with vote for Keystone XL pipeline

Gwen Graham paddles a tributary of the Apalachicola River during a campaign stop with her father, former U. S. Sen. Bob Graham. Photo by Bruce Ritchie.
Gwen Graham paddles a tributary of the Apalachicola River during a campaign stop with her father, former U. S. Sen. Bob Graham. Photo by Bruce Ritchie.


After taking office this week, “The North Florida Way” for U. S. Rep. Gwen Graham on Friday meant joining with Republicans on Friday in support of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Graham, D-Tallahassee, unseated Republican Rep. Steve Southerland of Panama City in November. She said in her campaign she would bring the “North Florida Way” to Washington including an end to partisan bickering.

On Friday, her vote for the Keystone XL Pipeline Act championed by Republicans received cheers from the energy industry and complaints from environmentalists. Graham said the pipeline would lead to lower gas prices in the future.

“I’m supporting this pipeline with the expectation it will be built as one of the safest in the world,” Graham said in a statement. “Democrats and Republicans came together to pass this legislation, now we must continue to work together to protect our country’s natural resources.”

Graham joined Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, as the only other Democrat from Florida in support of the bill while eight Democrats voted against. All 17 Republican House members from Florida voted for the bill. The House voted 266-153 to pass the measure.

Democratic activist Barbara DeVane wrote on Facebook that Graham’s ceremonial swearing in later this month could become a “swearing at” event because of the vote.

Environmentalists oppose the pipeline, saying that burning the oil from Canada will contribute to climate change and threaten the environment in areas where the pipeline crosses.

The pipeline would carry more than 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Canada to Texas refineries along a proposed 1,179-mile route through plains states, according to U. S. News.

“So many energy and environmental advocates that I know in Leon County spent so much time and energy working to elect her (Graham), and she votes like Southerland would have,” Tallahassee environmentalist Brian Lee said on Facebook.

Graham’s vote won support from David Mica of the Florida Petroleum Council and its parent group, the American Petroleum Institute. President Obama has threatened to veto the bill.

“Congress is leading on Keystone XL in a bipartisan fashion proving Washington can get things done, despite obstacles from the executive branch,” API President and CEO Jack Gerard said. “We strongly urge all members to approve the KXL legislation despite the White House veto threat.”

(Story and photo copyrighted by Bruce Ritchie and Do not copy, forward or republish without permission, which can be obtained from

5 thoughts on “Graham irks environmentalists with vote for Keystone XL pipeline”

  1. I am disgusted that Ms graham voted for the keystone pipeline. I supported and voted for her even though she distanced herself from President Obama on the AHCA. I almost wish I had voted for Southerland( dirtbag)- would have had same results. Shame on you and your father.

  2. Harold Mitchell

    Are you serious? I voted for you Rep. Graham.. and now I regret it. I met you the morning of the election and was so pleased when you beat Southerland.. When were you bought? What did they offer you? Was it a mistake on the voting? You can’t possibly be that stupid, or that easily purchased. You’d better have one GREAT explanation for this. I feel completely betrayed. As does a GREAT portion of the people that elected you. I hope your dad chews you a new one for this bonehead move.

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