Keystone XL Pipeline Actby Representative Chris Van Hollen
Posted on 2015-01-09
in the house of representatives
Friday, January 9, 2015
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to H.R. 3, which
would circumvent the legal approval process and grant blanket automatic
authority for TransCanada to ``construct, connect, operate, and
maintain'' the Keystone XL pipeline and cross-border facilities.
Every cross-border pipeline must undergo a vetting process to make sure that it is in the national interest. This process has been ongoing at the State Department and has been complicated by disputes over the route, most notably in Nebraska, where their Supreme Court ruled on the issue just this morning. Today's legislation would provide a special deal for one company to bypass federal permitting requirements.
Additionally, the oil that would be transported by Keystone XL, tar sands oil, is currently exempt from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund that is used to fund the response to leaks and accidents. This means that the American public would bear the risks for the immediate cleanup costs from any potential accidents or leaks from the pipeline. Congressman Earl Blumenauer introduced legislation last night, which I am proud to cosponsor, to close that loophole and ensure that TransCanada and other companies transporting tar sands oil share responsibility for those costs by paying into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. Democrats are offering a motion today to address this issue for the oil that would be transported through the Keystone XL pipeline, and I hope my Republican colleagues will work with us to close this loophole.
Ultimately, there is no reason to give special treatment to a single, foreign company, which would be exempt from permitting requirements and from paying into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. We should reject this bill and allow the State Department to complete its ongoing review.