Keystone XL Pipeline Actby Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard
Posted on 2015-01-09
in the house of representatives
Friday, January 9, 2015
Ms. ROYBAL-ALLARD. Mr. Speaker, I oppose H.R. 3, which grants
approval to build the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline. The public has
been misled by the pipeline's advocates, who have played down the
pipeline's potentially devastating effects on our nation's environment
and on the American people.
For starters, this bill allows a foreign company to take property from U.S. landowners through eminent domain. The taking of private land for public purposes has always been for local government or local interests. We cannot allow a foreign company to take our private property to feed its corporate profits.
In addition, the bill exempts TransCanada Corp. and any other company producing, shipping, or refining tar sands oil for this project, from paying into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which helps to finance the federal government's response to spills. This exemption essentially reduces the companies' liability for spills from the pipeline and makes the U.S. taxpayers pay to clean up those spills. That's outrageous, especially when you consider the pipeline will go over the underground water supply for eight of our states.
The legislation also gives this project special regulatory treatment by exempting the pipeline from all federal permitting requirements. Our federal permitting process exists to ensure worker safety, and to provide health safeguards and environmental protections for the American people. It is irresponsible to give this project a blanket exemption from these critical safety measures.
This is particularly true given that the tar sands oil to be transported is more destructive than any other oil in the world. Converting a barrel of tar sands into synthetic crude oil emits three times more greenhouse gas emissions than are emitted by producing a barrel of conventional crude oil. If this pipeline leaks, the health of thousands of Americans will be at risk--and Americans, not the Canadian company, will be held responsible for the cost of the clean-up.
Considering this foreign-built pipeline takes private property and poses serious economic and safety risks, I stand in firm opposition to this bill.