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John H.
Republican ND

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  • Keystone XL Pipeline Act—Motion to Proceed

    by Senator John Hoeven

    Posted on 2015-01-12

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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 President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.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 rise to again talk about the Keystone XL Pipeline approval bill. We will be voting on cloture on the motion to proceed in about 15 minutes or so.

    I believe we have a bipartisan majority. We have 60 sponsors of the legislation, and we will have some others join us in voting to proceed on the bill.

    That is important, not just because this is bipartisan legislation, important energy legislation for our country but, as I have said before, this is an opportunity for all the Members of this body-- Republican and Democrat--to come forward with their amendments in an open amendment process and really have an energy debate.

    Let's talk about the energy future of this country and let's bring forward amendments to this legislation that can be good amendments and help us build the right kind of energy plan for our country.

    What I would point out about this Keystone Pipeline approval bill is that as we work to build an energy plan for this country, as we work to produce more energy so we are truly energy secure--a lot of people call it energy independence--but the way I define it is energy security for our country where we produce more energy than we consume, so we control our destiny. If we produce more energy than we consume, then we control our destiny when it comes to energy. But to do that, we would not only have to produce that energy, we have to have the infrastructure to move it safely, cost effectively, and efficiently from where it is produced to where it is consumed.

    We have this incredible opportunity with Canada to have North American energy security. We are working with our closest friend and ally in the world. We together produce more energy than we consume, and we have the infrastructure in place to move it from where it is produced to where it is consumed in our country. Now we control our own destiny.

    When it comes to OPEC or when it comes to Russia or when it comes to China, when it comes to geopolitical events that affect the price of energy, we are in a strong situation. Look at what is going on in Western Europe right now. Look at what is going on in Ukraine. They are in a tremendously difficult situation because they are dependent on Russia for their energy, for their natural gas, at a time when Vladimir Putin is undertaking very aggressive action in Europe. He is invading Ukraine. He has taken Crimea. He continues his aggressive efforts. And at the same time the European Union is trying to support Ukraine, Ukraine is fighting with Russia. This is a situation where Ukraine is depending upon Russia for its energy.

    Does America really want to be in that kind of a situation in the future when we have real problems in the Middle East, when we have real problems with fundamentalists, Islamic jihadists conducting terror on our people and other freedom-loving people around the world? Do we want to be in a situation where we continue to depend upon the Middle East for our oil? Well, the answer to that is no. The American people resoundingly answer that question--no.

    [[Page S145]] Also, the American people well know that the reason gas prices at the pump today are lower is not because OPEC just decided to give us a Christmas present. They know the reason energy prices are low in this country, that when they pull up to the pump they are saving money, is because we are producing so much more energy in this country and we are getting more energy from Canada.

    Unless OPEC cuts back their production, more supply drives prices down. So it is not only about low prices now, it is about making sure we are able to control our energy destiny in the future. We have to take a long-term view. It is working.

    Of the 18 million barrels of oil a day this country consumes, we now produce 11 million barrels in this country. We are up to 11 million barrels that we produce in this country of the total we consume, so we are still importing about 7 million barrels a day.

    Canada is now up to 3 million of those 7 million barrels, so we are down to only importing about 4 million barrels a day, but if we keep working at this, we can continue to produce more in this country. Canada's production is continuing to grow. And if we build the infrastructure, we can make sure that we control that energy--North American energy security.

    That means not only now do our consumers and small businesses and our whole Nation benefit from lower energy prices, lower gas prices at the pump, but we have that ability to make sure we control our destiny and that we benefit in the future.

    Let's not repeat the mistakes of the past where we return to this dependency on OPEC down the road because we haven't built the infrastructure, we haven't worked with Canada, and we haven't brought our domestic industry to North America so that we truly are energy secure. If we don't build the necessary infrastructure, if we block the necessary infrastructure, we can't build that energy plan for the future.

    I have heard my counterparts, some of the critics, say: Well, it is not up to us to issue a building permit for infrastructure.

    Really? So you mean it is the President's job and it is Congress's job to block critical energy that will get us to energy security? Our job is to block it? Our job is to prevent the very infrastructure we need to build energy security for this country, to block the private investment, the $8 billion that private companies want to spend to build this infrastructure, to create jobs, to produce more energy in North America, and to help make this country's energy security? The President's job and this body's job is to block the ability of our country and Canada to build this necessary infrastructure? Well, I don't think so.

    If you want to put it in terms of: Oh, well, we are not supposed to issue a building permit--really? So our job is to prevent the building of critical infrastructure even when it does not cost one single penny--not one penny--of government money? This is almost $8 billion of private investment that will generate hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue--State, local, and Federal. Every State on the route has approved it.

    There is an idea somehow we are jumping the gun after 6 years? Let's see, it has been in process for 6 years. Every State on the route has approved it. We are not spending any Federal money. We are saying our job as a Congress and the President is to block that kind of investment, block that kind of job creation, block that kind of energy development, and block our ability to get to energy security for this country.

    Then there is this argument: Oh, well, it is TransCanada. It is one company. It is only one company, so it really doesn't matter.

    Really? Well, if you were a company--a Canadian company or a U.S. company--and you were about to build infrastructure so that we could continue to produce more energy in this country, would you do it? If, in spite of the process that the Federal Government has to approve this project, where all of the requirements have been met--not once, but over and over again--and Congress and the President continue to block your ability to build that infrastructure, are you going to jump up and spend billions of dollars and do it? I doubt it.

    And isn't that really what this is all about? That is what it is about, isn't it? It is for the folks, for the extreme environmental groups that don't want the development of fossil fuels--they are going to block it. This is sending the message and making sure they shut her down here. That has to be music to OPEC's ears. I have to believe that OPEC is going: Boy, that is great; they are not going to build the infrastructure in their country to produce the energy.

    That is going to keep OPEC in business.

    There is another country that I think will be very pleased, really excited, if this project gets blocked, and that is China. China is so anxious to get this oil, they are trying to buy that production in Canada. Because, make no mistake, if the energy doesn't come to the United States, it is going somewhere else, and it is most likely going to China.

    So when we get back in that situation down the road when oil prices move back up, energy demand goes back up, and we have prevented our industry from growing--and Canada is sending all the oil to China, and we have to go back hat in hand to OPEC, Venezuela, and all of these countries, remember---- The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time has expired.

    Mr. HOEVEN. I ask unanimous consent to continue for 5 minutes.

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