Executive Sessionby Senator John Hoeven
Posted on 2013-02-14
HOEVEN. Madam President, I rise today for the purpose of engaging
in a colloquy with my distinguished colleagues on the matter of the
Keystone XL Pipeline for 30 minutes.
[[Page S730]] The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. HOEVEN. Madam President, I rise today with my distinguished colleagues, both Republican and Democratic, on a bipartisan basis to urge approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Joining me today will be Senator Mary Landrieu from the great State of Louisiana, a Democrat; Republican Senator John Cornyn from Texas; Republican Senator John Boozman from Arkansas; Democratic Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia; Republican Senator John Barrasso from Wyoming; Democratic Senator Mark Begich from Alaska; and Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, also from Alaska. I emphasize that to show the bipartisan support for this critically important project.
I also will have a statement from Senator Max Baucus of Montana, who has been leading this effort with me, in his case on the Democratic side of the aisle. He wasn't able to be here, but I do have a statement from Senator Baucus that I will read as well, and I appreciate very much his statement of support.
You may have seen that the national gas price has now risen to an average of $3.62 per gallon. So the average price for gasoline today in the United States--and it continues to go up--is up to $3.62 a gallon. That is the highest it has ever been in the month of February. So that is a new record--not a record we want to make, either, but it is a record, the highest price for a gallon of gasoline in the United States that we have ever had in February.
If you take a look at that trend line, you will see it has been going up dramatically, and that price is double--$3.62 a gallon average across the country--that is double the price of gasoline compared to when this administration first took office. So it is a doubling of the price, and, of course, every consumer, every working American is paying that price at the pump. It affects our small businesses across the country, and it affects our families across the country every day.
There was a poll released yesterday that you may also have seen. The poll was commissioned by API, which is American Petroleum Institute, and was conducted February 5 through February 10 by Harris Interactive. They polled just over 1,000 registered voters, and so the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent. In that poll, 69 percent of the respondents support construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline--69 percent--and 17 percent oppose it. So Americans overwhelmingly support the project--69 percent to 17 percent--in the most recent poll. And, of course, why wouldn't they.
This is a project which provides energy to our country when we very much need it. It is a project which will provide jobs--tens of thousands of jobs. We have 7.9 percent unemployment. We have 12 million people out of work. Here is a project that won't cost the Federal Government one single penny, but it creates tens of thousands of high- quality private sector jobs.
It is about economic growth. This is a $7.9 billion project. The project over its life will create hundreds of millions of dollars of tax revenue for State and local governments, as well as the Federal Government to help with our deficit and our debt without raising taxes--more tax revenue without raising taxes.
It is also about our energy security, energy security for America. Instead of bringing oil from the Middle East, this is about working with our closest friend and ally Canada to meet our energy needs. This pipeline will not only bring in Canadian oil, however. It also moves oil from my State of North Dakota and from the State of Montana to our refineries in places such as Texas and Louisiana and other places around the country. So this is about making sure we don't have to import oil from the Middle East, and I think that is something every American wants. That truly is an issue of national security.
It has been 4\1/2\ years since TransCanada--the company that is seeking to build the Keystone XL Pipeline--it has been 4\1/2\ years since they first applied for a permit. Here is a chart that shows the route the pipeline would take, and it shows that they had already built another pipeline. This is actually a second pipeline they are seeking to build. But after 4\1/2\ years, they still don't have approval of a project that is similar to other projects that have been built.
As a matter of fact, we have built quite a few pipelines through the country, and they go everywhere. For some reason this project has been held up for 4\1/2\ years when almost 70 percent of Americans support it. We need the energy, and we need the jobs. Why would that be? There was a report in the news yesterday that actress Daryl Hannah and about 40 activists handcuffed themselves to the fence of the White House, and they were arrested for that. They were doing that in protest of the Keystone Pipeline project. Maybe that is where we should be today. Instead of our bipartisan group of Senators here in the Senate arguing the merits of this project and advocating for what the American people want, maybe we should be handcuffed to the White House fence because that seems to work.
It has been 4\1/2\ years, and we still don't have a decision. We still don't have approval from the administration on this project even though gas prices have doubled on this President's watch, even though the American people overwhelmingly support the project, even though we need the energy and the jobs. We don't want to keep importing oil from the Middle East, and that is why we are here. We are here on a bipartisan basis to make our case and to get this project approved.
I want to begin by recognizing a distinguished colleague and somebody who has been a real leader in the energy world and has a direct interest on behalf of his constituents in the great State of Texas concerning this project. We need to move oil to the refineries in Texas; we need to move oil--not only Canadian oil but oil from North Dakota, Montana--and we need to get it to refiners so we can get it to our consumers, so instead of seeing the price continue to go up, we can bring it down. I think that is what the American people want.
Perhaps the Senator from Texas can talk about the refining and jobs aspect of this multimillion-dollar project.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Republican Whip.