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John H.
Republican ND

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  • Hire More Heroes Act of 2015—Continued

    by Senator John Hoeven

    Posted on 2015-07-28

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    HOEVEN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.

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

    Mr. HOEVEN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak as in morning business for up to 10 minutes.

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

    Keystone Pipeline and Oil Sanctions on Iran Mr. HOEVEN. Mr. President, I am here to speak about energy, both lower cost energy and who is going to supply it.

    One might say: Why today? Well, because sources tell me that after almost 7 years, President Obama is going to turn down the Keystone Pipeline project--7 years. This is an application that was filed by the TransCanada company in September 2008. So here we are in year 6, and in September it will be 7 years that the application has been pending. The administration has still not made a decision--defeat through delay. So the question is, Why then is he going to turn down the project now? It is because he will wait until Congress is out of session in August. Then he will turn down the project while Congress is not in session to have less pushback, less criticism, of his decision if he makes it under the radar. That timing is understandable because he is making a political decision rather than a decision based on the merits.

    As we know, Congress overwhelmingly supports the project. The House overwhelmingly passed approval of the Keystone Pipeline project. In the Senate, we had 62 votes in favor of the measure. We were actually missing some of our Members or we would have had 63, but there was strong overwhelming bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. We sent the bill to the President and he vetoed it, but he still has not made a decision. He vetoed it saying it was up to him to make a decision, not the Congress. Congress went on record overwhelmingly in support of the project. Congress approved the project, but he vetoed the bill.

    It is the President's decision to make. Now we hear he is going to make it and turn down the project, but the Congress overwhelmingly supports it. The States on the Keystone Pipeline route overwhelmingly support it. There are six States on the route and every single State has approved the project: Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. They all approved the project. Congress supports it, the States support it, but most importantly the American people support it. In poll after poll, the American people have overwhelmingly shown support for the project--65 to 70 percent--strong, overwhelming support for the project.

    Why do they support it? This is what it is all about: the merits of the project. They support it on the merits because it means more energy for this country that is produced in this country, in Canada, in my home State of North Dakota, and in Montana. There are 830,000 barrels of oil a day produced in Canada and the United States that can be refined in our refineries and can be used right here, rather than getting it from some other country such as OPEC, Russia, Venezuela, you name it. It is energy we produce here at home. First and foremost, Americans support it because they want our energy produced at home. They want us to be energy secure. It is about jobs. It is about jobs.

    This is a multibillion-dollar investment that creates good construction jobs. It is about economic growth, growing our economy here at home, working with our closest friend and ally, Canada. It is also about national security through energy security--not having to depend on the Middle East or OPEC for our energy. It doesn't cost the Federal Government a penny--not a penny. This is, as I say, a multibillion-dollar project that is completely built with private investment that would generate hundreds of millions of dollars in local, State, and Federal tax revenue. It would not cost the Federal Government one penny, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in cash revenues at the local, State, and Federal levels.

    But maybe the greatest irony of all is this: At the same time the President is making it harder to produce energy here at home in our country and get energy from our closest friend and ally Canada, he wants to make it easier to produce oil in Iran. Think about that. Right now the President is pressing Congress to approve an agreement with Iran that would remove the sanctions on oil production and exports in Iran. Under the proposed agreement that the President has submitted to this Congress, he includes releasing the U.S. sanctions put in place by Congress that limit and restrict Iran's ability to produce and export oil. These include energy sanctions that limit Iran's sale of crude oil, which was specifically passed by Congress. Also, he wants to remove the sanctions on investment in Iran's oil, gas, petrochemical, and automotive sectors--again, sanctions passed by Congress. He wants to remove sanctions on the energy sector equipment and gasoline sanctions that were passed by Congress. In essence, what the President is doing is allowing Iran to export its oil, he is allowing investment to help them produce more oil, and he is allowing the export to Iran of technology that will help them produce more oil and gas. At the same time, by turning down Keystone, the President is making it harder for us to produce and transport oil and gas in our country and work with our strongest ally, Canada. So what is the net effect of that? The net effect of that is it helps put OPEC back in the driver's seat.

    If you don't believe me, let's just take a look at the numbers. The numbers don't lie. Prior to 2012, before we put the Kirk-Menendez congressional sanctions in place as part of the National Defense Authorization Act at the end of 2011, during that year, at that time in 2011, Iran was producing 2.6 million barrels of oil a day. By 2013, [[Page S6057]] after the Kirk-Menendez sanctions had been in effect, Iran was down to exporting only 1.1 million barrels a day. Iran had gone from 2.6 million barrels a day down to 1.1 million barrels a day of oil they were producing, exporting, and getting paid for. We cut that by more than half.

    My State of North Dakota alone produces 1.2 million barrels a day. That is more than Iran is exporting right now, but if all these sanctions come off, Iran gets to go back up to that 2.6 million and beyond. One million barrels at $50 a barrel is $50 million a day. One can see this means hundreds of millions and billions of dollars to Iran. This is certainly something to think about, going from 2.6 million barrels a day and having put sanctions in place, knocking it down to 1.1 million barrels--and that is with exceptions the President has allowed to the sanctions. That is without the sanctions being fully implemented. It shows that the sanctions are very effective. It also shows that if we release them, Iran will get incredible amounts of money--not only dollars that have been held from them, but dollars they are going to generate every day from increased oil production.

    So the President wants us to relieve these sanctions at the same time he, in essence, impedes our oil and our growth in energy development in this country.

    The simple question I have is, How does that make sense? How does that make sense? How do we get into a situation where we are enabling Iran to produce more oil, but the U.S. produces less? That makes no sense, but that is the impact of the President's decision.

    The President will make an argument that is based on environmental factors. He will say he is making that decision for environmental reasons. He doesn't want the oil produced in Canada. He usually just doesn't talk about the light sweet crude that is produced in the Bakken area of North Dakota and Montana, which is the lightest, sweetest crude I know of. He tries to make the argument that he doesn't like oil that is produced in Canada for environmental reasons.

    Remember I said this has been pending now for almost 7 years. We are in year 6. In the President's own Department of State, the environmental impact statement says the Keystone will have no significant environmental impact. It will be interesting to see when Congress is out of session--in August when the President turns this down, trying to get under the radar--what he has to say about how he is going to address the State Department's clear environmental impact statement, finding no significant environmental impact, but we will see what it is. At the same time, the President will work to convince Americans that all sanctions should be lifted from Iran so they can produce more oil and bring more money into their country.

    There is an old saying. Essentially it goes like this: Those who fail to heed the lessons of history are destined to repeat them. President Obama is not breaking our dependence on foreign oil, he is reinstating it. The President is not strengthening our energy future, he is weakening it, and I urge him to reconsider.

    With that, I yield the floor.

    I suggest the absence of a quorum.

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

    The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.

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