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John H.
Republican ND

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  • Health Care

    by Senator John Hoeven

    Posted on 2013-03-05

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    HOEVEN. Madam President, I rise to speak as in morning business.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

    Keystone XL Pipeline Mr. HOEVEN. Madam President, last week the U.S. State Department issued its new environmental review for the Keystone XL Pipeline. This is the fourth environmental review in nearly 5 years of study. Unsurprisingly, it said the same thing as all the other reports have said.

    The Keystone XL Pipeline will have no significant impact on the environment. Again, the Keystone XL Pipeline will have no significant impact on the environment.

    Ironically, the report indicates that there will be more emissions if you do not build the pipeline than if you do build the pipeline. So let's go through that for a minute. The Keystone XL Pipeline project is perhaps the most thoroughly studied and long-delayed project of its kind in U.S. history. The State Department's favorable finding in this, its most recent report, underscores both the good environmental stewardship of this project and the need to begin construction without further delay. But the State Department now indicates it will hold a 45-day comment period and an as-yet-undetermined period of time before it will issue a final environmental impact statement. Then it will conduct an interagency comment period to make its national interest determination.

    So while we welcome the finding of no significant impact, for the fourth time now, we have yet another indeterminate delay which runs counter to both public opinion and reasonable due diligence. After four environmental reviews and favorable results, the President needs to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline project without delay because there remains no excuse not to do it.

    The argument has been advanced that the oil sands will increase carbon emissions and that failing to build the Keystone XL Pipeline will somehow reduce emissions. But the most recent State Department report makes clear that this contention is false. The report actually indicates just the opposite, that if the pipeline is not built from Alberta, Canada to the United States, the oil will still move to market but it will move to China from Canada's west coast. To get the product to China, the oil will be shipped in tankers across the Pacific Ocean to be refined in overseas facilities with weaker environmental standards and more emissions than facilities in the United States. The United States, moreover, will continue to import oil from the Middle East--again on tankers. Factor in the cost of trucking and railing the product to market over land and the results--contrary to the claims of its opponents--will be more emissions and a less secure distribution system than if in fact we build the Keystone XL Pipeline project.

    Let's look at it. This is a commonsense argument. The report indicates less emissions if we build the project. Yet it is being held up by extreme activists on the basis that if we build the pipeline, somehow we get more emissions. That is just not the case.

    With the pipeline from up in the Edmonton-Hardisty-Alberta, Canada region, the pipeline brings oil down right [[Page S1113]] in the North Dakota-Montana area where it picks up 100,000 barrels a day from the Bakken. The oil then goes to refineries in Illinois and Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana. We have domestic oil, from our country, oil from our closest friend and ally, Canada, that we are using here in our refineries for our customers: more energy, more jobs, more economic activity so we get economic growth, we get revenue to reduce the debt and the deficit without raising taxes, and it is a national security issue. Instead of having tankers coming from the Middle East bringing heavy crude in some cases which in fact has higher emissions than the Canadian oil, we rely on oil from our country and Canada. We get what Americans want; that is, no longer depending on the Middle East for oil.

    If we do not build the pipeline, the oil is still produced. This oil will be produced, but it will not come to the United States. It is going--where? It is going to China. And it is going to be sent on tankers over to China so you have not only the emissions of those tankers but it is going to be refined in Chinese refineries which have worse environmental standards than we do, and we continue to bring in oil from the Middle East. That makes no sense and that is why 70 percent of the American people approve the project. Only 17 percent have indicated opposition.

    This is about President Obama making a decision for the American people rather than for special-interest groups. In my home State of North Dakota, as I say, we will put 100,000 barrels a day of light sweet Bakken crude into that pipeline. That takes 500 trucks a day off our roads. That is a safety issue. That is an issue for our roads in western North Dakota.

    To recount briefly, this is a $7 billion high-tech pipeline project that will bring 830,000 barrels of oil today from Alberta, Canada to refineries in Oklahoma and the Texas gulf coast, as I said, including 100,000 barrels a day of light sweet crude from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota and Montana.

    As the most recent State Department report confirms, it will create tens of thousands of jobs during the construction phase, boost the American economy, raise much needed revenue for State and local governments at a time when they very much need it, and do it without raising taxes. Perhaps most importantly, it will put our country within striking range of a long-sought goal, and that is true energy security.

    For the first time in generations, the United States--along with its closest friend and ally Canada--has the capacity to produce more energy than we use, as well as eliminate our reliance on the Middle East and other volatile parts of the world such as Venezuela.

    Even after an exhaustive review process, the consent of every State along its route, the backing of a majority of Congress, and the overwhelming support of the American people, the Keystone XL Pipeline project continues to languish at the hands of the President of the United States.

    We again ask, as we have before, that President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry provide us with an actual timeline and some certainty as to when this long-delayed project will finally get approved.

    The Keystone XL project will provide tens of thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue to help us reduce our debt and deficit, and it will do it with good environmental stewardship.

    With 70 percent of the American people in support of the Keystone XL Pipeline and 12 million Americans still out of work, there is no reasonable excuse to delay this project any longer.

    I yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Manchin). The clerk will call the roll.

    The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.

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