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  • Keystone XL Pipeline Act

    by Representative Bill Shuster

    Posted on 2015-01-09

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    SHUSTER. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous materials on H.R. 3.



    The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Pennsylvania? There was no objection.

    Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 19, I call up the bill (H.R. 3) to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, and ask for its immediate consideration.

    The Clerk read the title of the bill.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 19, the bill is considered read.

    The text of the bill is as follows: H.R. 3 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Keystone XL Pipeline Act''.

    SEC. 2. KEYSTONE XL APPROVAL.

    (a) In General.--TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, L.P. may construct, connect, operate, and maintain the pipeline and cross-border facilities described in the application filed on May 4, 2012, by TransCanada Corporation to the Department of State (including any subsequent revision to the pipeline route within the State of Nebraska required or authorized by the State of Nebraska).

    (b) Environmental Impact Statement.--The Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement issued by the Secretary of State in January 2014, regarding the pipeline referred to in subsection (a), and the environmental analysis, consultation, and review described in that document (including appendices) shall be considered to fully satisfy-- (1) all requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.); and (2) any other provision of law that requires Federal agency consultation or review (including the consultation or review required under section 7(a) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1536(a))) with respect to the pipeline and facilities referred to in subsection (a).

    (c) Permits.--Any Federal permit or authorization issued before the date of enactment of this Act for the pipeline and cross-border facilities referred to in subsection (a) shall remain in effect.

    (d) Judicial Review.--Except for review in the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over any civil action for the review of an order or action of a Federal agency regarding the pipeline and cross-border facilities described in subsection (a), and the related facilities in the United States, that are approved by this Act (including any order granting a permit or right-of-way, or any other agency action taken to construct or complete the project pursuant to Federal law).

    (e) Private Property Savings Clause.--Nothing in this Act alters any Federal, State, or local process or condition in effect on the date of enactment of this Act that is necessary to secure access from an owner of private property to construct the pipeline and cross-border facilities described in subsection (a).

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. The bill shall be debatable for 1 hour equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

    The gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Shuster), the gentleman from Oregon (Mr. DeFazio), the gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Whitfield), and the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Pallone) each will control 15 minutes.

    The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Pennsylvania.

    Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

    I enthusiastically rise today to support H.R. 3, the Keystone XL Pipeline Act. And for those who have not heard, according to the administration, the [[Page H169]] final hurdle has been removed, and that is that the Nebraska Supreme Court this morning has approved the pathway for the pipeline, the routing of the pipeline, the Keystone XL pipeline.

    Again, the administration has said that was the major hurdle. It has fallen. So I hope the President is not going to establish another hurdle, that being himself.

    America is undergoing an energy renaissance, and the prospect of securing North American energy independence is in sight. However, to achieve our goal of energy security, we need to make sure we have the infrastructure in place to keep pace with the changing energy landscape. Keystone will be a critical addition to the Nation's pipeline network, increasing our supply of oil and helping to reduce its cost.

    The State Department completed its environmental analysis a year ago. However, there has still been no action by the administration on the pipeline.

    There is simply no reason to delay this important project. As I mentioned, the President's main argument in this premature veto threat is that the bill would authorize the pipeline despite uncertainty due to ongoing litigation in Nebraska. Well, that uncertainty has ended this morning, and the Supreme Court of Nebraska has allowed the planned route to go forward in Nebraska. Again, there is simply no reason to delay. In fact, the southern leg of the pipeline has already been built.

    In March 2012, in Oklahoma, the President expressed his support for expediting construction for the southern leg of the Keystone pipeline, and I agree with the President when he stated at that ceremony that he was directing his administration to cut through red tape, break through bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project a priority to go ahead and get it done. It was the right thing to do then, it is the right thing to do now, and it is exactly what this bill does.

    We should move forward because this pipeline will be a tremendous boon to the economic development and one that doesn't require a single Federal dollar. The very nature of infrastructure improvement creates jobs, and Keystone is no exception.

    I know my colleagues have made the argument that it is only temporary, but every infrastructure job is a temporary job. When a road is completed, when a bridge is completed, when a pipeline is completed, those construction workers move on to hopefully other construction jobs.

    Indeed, five unions representing over 3 million workers--and I repeat that to my Democratic colleagues, five unions representing 3 million hardworking Americans--support this project, and I would like to submit their letter in the Record for support of this project.

    International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Washington, DC, November 17, 2014.

    U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.

    Dear Senator: I am writing to express the support of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters for S. 2280, a bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. The Keystone XL Pipeline project has been subjected to over six and one-half years of scrutiny, including review by 10 federal agencies, as well as numerous state and local agency reviews. We believe that it is time to end the delay and to move forward with the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. We ask you to support S. 2280 when it comes to the Senate floor this week.

    The Teamsters Union believes that the Keystone XL Pipeline will contribute to enhanced energy security, economic prosperity and, of critical importance, the creation of good paying jobs. Unemployment in the building and construction workforce remains too high. Construction of the pipeline will provide much needed and good paying jobs for this workforce. The utilization of a project labor agreement will enhance the safety, technical performance, reliability and quality of the project as well as maximize employment opportunities for local residents along the proposed corridor. Further, the fifty-seven special conditions agreed to for the project will provide an even greater degree of safety than any typically constructed domestic oil pipeline.

    If the pipeline is not built, important socioeconomic benefits will not be realized--the positive impacts of local, state and federal revenue, spending by construction workers, and spending on construction goods and services. Building the Keystone XL Pipeline will enhance U.S. energy and economic security. It is time to move forward without further delay.

    Sincerely, James P. Hoffa, General President.

    ____ International Union of Operating Engineers, Washington, DC, September 17, 2013.

    Hon. John Hoeven, Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC.

    Hon. Mary L. Landrieu, Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC.

    Dear Senators Hoeven and Landrieu: The International Union of Operating Engineers supports your amendment to energy- efficiency legislation, S. 1392, which simply expresses congressional support for the Keystone XL pipeline.

    The International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) represents approximately 400,000 skilled American and Canadian heavy-equipment operators and other craftworkers, including thousands of members who hope to build the Keystone XL pipeline. The IUOE is one of four unions signatory to the National Pipeline Agreement.

    To create jobs and improve American energy independence, the Keystone XL pipeline should become a key part of America's energy infrastructure. The economic benefits of the project are dramatic and undisputable. The State Department's Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) says that approximately 10,000 construction workers would be employed building the pipeline, including thousands of Operating Engineers. A total of 42,100 jobs throughout the United States would be supported by the project, generating over $2 billion in total earnings. All told, this pipeline project would contribute approximately $3.4 billion to America's Gross Domestic Product.

    The Keystone XL will also be one of the safest pipelines ever built. According to the EIS, the fifty-seven special conditions developed by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and voluntarily agreed to by TransCanada ``. . . would have a degree of safety greater than any typically constructed domestic oil pipeline system under current regulations.'' In addition, the Operating Engineers and other union construction trades tasked with building the 1,179 mile pipeline possess the highest safety and skill levels in the pipeline sector.

    Operating Engineers have waited over five years to build this essential piece North American energy infrastructure. Every state along the pipeline route has approved the project. Over 80 percent of Americans believe it's in our national interest to build it. Now it's time for the federal government to approve the project. Congress can send a strong message by supporting your amendment.

    The IUOE endorses the Hoeven-Landrieu amendment in support of Keystone XL, and looks forward to working with you to see it passed into law.

    Thank you again for your leadership.

    Sincerely James T. Callahan, General President.

    ____ International Union of Operating Engineers, Washington, DC, January 7, 2015.

    Hon. John A. Boehner, Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC.

    Hon. Nancy Pelosi, Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC.

    Dear Speaker Boehner and Leader Pelosi: The International Union of Operating Engineers supports the passage of H.R. 3, the Keystone XL Pipeline Act, and respectfully requests that you vote for the legislation on Friday when it will be considered on the floor of the House of Representatives.

    After five different Environmental Impact Statements and over six years of evaluation, the Keystone XL pipeline has been the most exhaustively reviewed pipeline in history. All of the federal studies have reached the same conclusion: The Keystone XL pipeline merits approval. It is time for Congress to act and approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

    As you know, the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) proudly represents heavy equipment operators and mechanics in the construction industry throughout the United States and Canada. A large cadre of our members possess specialized training and years of practical experience building oil and gas pipeline infrastructure. Members on both sides of the border hope to build the Keystone XL. Members of the Operating Engineers, through the collective bargaining process, will earn roughly $35 an hour on their checks as they build the Keystone XL. The project is expected to generate approximately 3,000 job-years for Operating Engineers alone. With congressional approval of the pipeline, you can unleash this massive economic activity--at no cost to taxpayers.

    The misguided criticism of the pipeline by the environmental community does not change the facts. Virtually the whole critique depends on a fundamental misunderstanding of the oil-transportation industry and its economics. Despite the conclusion of five different environmental studies, critics of the project refuse to accept that Keystone XL has little or no effect on the extraction rate of oil sands. Alternative transportation methods will step in to move the commodity, irrespective of the Keystone XL decision. The oil and gas industry possesses too much operational flexibility to allow one pipeline to limit the extraction rates of oil sands in Western Canada. Rail and other pipeline alternatives are ready to move oil sands and Bakken crude.

    The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has ensured that Keystone XL will be safer than any other domestic oil pipeline system built under current [[Page H170]] code as a result of its required 59 Special Conditions. These conditions usually accompany pipeline requirements in a ``High-Consequence Area''--steep slope, for example. Yet these conditions will apply across the entirety of the Keystone XL pipeline. The conditions relate to everything from manufacturing specifications of pipe, to construction techniques, to post-construction monitoring.

    This $5 billion privately-funded pipeline will move an essential North American commodity more safely than other alternatives. It will also grow the economy by putting thousands of Operating Engineers and other construction workers back on the job.

    The International Union of Operating Engineers respectfully requests your support for H.R. 3, legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. Thank you for your consideration.

    Sincerely, James T. Callahan, General President.

    Mr. SHUSTER. I want to name them off. It is the Teamsters; it is the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; it is the Laborers' International Union of North America; it is the Operating Engineers; it is the pipefitters of the United States and Canada all supporting this project. Again, they see it as positive economic impact.

    When these jobs are completed, they will move on to other, hopefully, construction jobs; but what is left behind will have a positive impact to our economy, to job creation for a generation.

    Our energy renaissance is helping make North America more secure and energy independent, and, in fact, I want to quote the President: In this time of significant political uncertainty in key oil-producing countries and regions, and in the context of a difficult economic situation, non-OPEC Canada crude oil supplies advance the energy security of the United States.

    Now, I wish he would have said that about this pipeline, but he didn't. He said it in 2009 about the Enbridge pipeline, which started transferring oil sands from Canada to the gulf coast last month. The President, 5 years ago, supported this type of thing. He should support it now. So other than politics, I don't understand why he hasn't approved this project as he did with Enbridge. It is time to build.

    Ladies and gentlemen, I especially look to my Democratic colleagues. Let's put down our gloves. Let's do something positive for America, for those 3 million union workers that are out there supporting this. Let's do what is good for the environment. Let's do what is good for energy independence.

    Finally, let's be fair to our greatest friends in the world, our Canadian neighbors. They allowed us to build a pipeline across their land. We should allow them to do the same in ours. They are our best allies. They are our greatest friends. They are a great neighbor. So let us, today, pass this bill and build the Keystone pipeline.

    With that, I reserve the balance of my time.

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