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Raul G.
Democrat AZ 3

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  • Keystone XL Pipeline Act

    by Representative Raúl M. Grijalva

    Posted on 2015-01-09

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    GRIJALVA. I thank the gentleman from Oregon.

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to what can only be described as an earmark for a Canadian corporation. It speaks volumes about the Republican agenda, as this new Congress convenes, that the first order of business in the House and Senate is to rubberstamp the Keystone XL pipeline.

    We have not dealt with unemployment benefits that the American people need that have lapsed for more than a year. Millions of Americans are suffering from a low minimum wage and income disparity, but we are not helping them. Women in this country still only earn 77 cents to every dollar their male counterparts earn, but we are not trying to end that disparity.

    Instead, they are forcing Keystone through without the proper approval process. Building a pipeline clear across the United States so that TransCanada can sell its dirty tar sands oil to the highest bidder--namely China--is not in the American people's best interests.

    We take on the risk to our lands, the American people face threats to their health, and TransCanada gets to reap the rewards. That is not a winning formula for our country or the economy. In fact, it is a sham.

    And yet the Keystone XL pipeline continues to be sold to the American people on blatantly false pretenses. We are told by proponents that this is about job creation, yet not a single independent analysis supports these claims.

    The burden of proof is on the GOP. They pull fantastic claims out of thin air, and yet they refuse to back them up. Instead, we are told to take their assertions at face value.

    Here is what we actually know. These are the facts that can actually be substantiated: The State Department found in its supplemental environmental impact study of the Keystone pipeline that it will generate less than 2,000 jobs a year for 2 years and only during the period of construction. Once the pipeline is built, these jobs will disappear, leaving a mere 35 permanent jobs that will result from this project--35. To put that in context, under President Obama, 353,000 jobs were generated in November and a total of 2.9 million in 2014.

    [[Page H172]] There is also the claim that it is going to lower gas prices for the American people. Please. Gas prices have been dropping for more than 100 straight days and are at the lowest level in more than 5\1/2\ years. They won't go any lower by allowing oil to be piped across our country just to be sold abroad.

    In contrast to fantasy impacts on gas prices, the potential impacts on our environment are very real. Not only will burning these tar sands add to global climate change, but any leak, failure, or, God forbid, explosion will have disastrous impacts on our environment. And because tar sands importers are exempt from paying into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, the American taxpayers will have to bear the cost of cleaning up any spills.

    The public needs to know these facts, and that is why allowing 1 hour of debate with not a single, solitary amendment today robs the American people of a full debate and discussion.

    On top of all that, this bill is being pushed through despite the fact that it violates not one but two treaties with American Indian nations.

    What does this say about the GOP's respect for the rule of law? If the Republicans truly want to generate jobs for the American people, they should fully fund the highway trust fund and support the GROW AMERICA Act to invest in the crumbling infrastructure all across this country, not help Canadians build a superhighway for their dirty tar sands oil.

    We would be supporting not just 2,000 jobs per year for 2 years but millions of jobs for American families, across every congressional district.

    Mr. Speaker, my colleagues have a chance to take an important stand today early in this Congress on behalf of taxpayers, the environment, Native American communities, and the rule of law by supporting President Obama's veto and rejecting this toxic giveaway to foreign corporate oil interests.

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