Keystone XL Pipeline Act—Motion to Proceed—Continuedby Senator James M. Inhofe
Posted on 2015-01-08
INHOFE. 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the quorum call be rescinded.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. INHOFE. Mr. President, I know we are all concerned right now with the progress that is going to be made on the pipeline, and I would like to make a few comments about it.
I have three charts. Let us look at this one from Oklahoma. I want to remind everyone that we had a visitor to the State of Oklahoma--the only time, I understand, the President has been in Oklahoma. President Obama came to Cushing, OK.
Let me explain where Cushing, OK, is. It is in the central part of the State, and it is the hub of all the pipelines--all the way from Canada down to New Mexico. Of course this is the pipeline in question here that we have been talking about over and over now for months and months and months, and it is one we understand just how great it would be. So the President, knowing this is very popular--and this trip was, in fact, actually before the election--made a trip to Oklahoma and talked about how good--well, I will actually read the quote. Keep in mind this was in Cushing, OK, right in the middle of the hub of the pipelines going through. The President said he was directing his administration ``to make this project a priority, to go ahead and get it done.'' That sounded real good. The problem was everyone in Oklahoma knew he wasn't telling the truth. I don't like to stand here and use the ``L'' word, because nothing really gets done by it, but he has done everything since that time to destroy the pipeline.
The President was making the statement then that he was not going to stand in the way of furthering the production of this pipeline to go down south through Texas. Well, there is good reason for that, because he couldn't do anything about it. It doesn't go across any international borders. But where he has blocked this is where he can do so, because it crosses the international border between Canada and the United States.
I want to mention that there is a person who has been very active in the political realm. His name is Tom Steyer. He has been very much involved. Quite frankly, I don't object to people who are right forward and honest about what their intentions are. This is the man--Tom Steyer, who is a billionaire--and he has had several meetings and said that he was going to put up $50 million of his own money and raise an additional $50 million--that is $100 million--to put in races in the coming election, meaning this last November.
It is my understanding that, in the final analysis, he wasn't able to raise the extra money, but of his own money--and these are his words, not mine--he put in $70 million. Mr. Steyer said: It is true we expect to be heavily involved in the midterm elections . . . we are looking at a bunch of . . . races . . . . My guess is that we'll end up being involved in 8 or even more races.
So we are talking about some $70 million that was going to be involved, and I would say that wasn't a real good investment because he didn't win any of those 8 races and actually netted out a loss of 9 races.
So again, he has a stated goal to try to do two things with his influence and his money. Again, I don't criticize him for this. He believes in his cause. His two causes are No. 1, to try to stop any further development on Federal land--in other words, to try to do what he can with some of the suggested pollution and all these things that are supposed to go with it--and another thing is to stop the pipeline.
Again, he was the one who made the statement. He also has been very influential in this administration. It has been reported--this was about 2 weeks ago--that he had visited the Obama White House some 14 times, which led a member of the watchdog group Public Citizen to say: ``Tom Steyer has not just got the ear of the President, but he clearly has the President's attention.'' Now, these White House meetings were often with President Obama's counselor and chief environmental adviser John Podesta. We all know John Podesta. We have known his background for a long time. Personally, I have known him. He has lobbied for Mr. Steyer to be the U.S. Secretary of Energy, saying, ``I think he would be a fabulous choice for energy secretary, and I've let my friends in the administration know that.'' The reports also show that Mr. Steyer and Mr. Podesta have met with George Soros, one of the liberal billionaires.
So this effort is going on, and I think it is necessary to remind the American people because it has probably been about 6 months since anyone has even talked about some of the obstacles we can look forward to that are in the way of getting the things done that need to be done.
The President tries to downplay the job numbers. We talk about the 42,000 jobs. The President said a couple days ago: Wait, those are just temporary jobs. Well, all jobs are temporary, but these jobs will be there for a number of years and will lead to others.
The President tries to downplay the numbers by using rhetoric that has earned his statements multiple Pinocchios. The Washington Post has a program where they check the facts, and several times he has been the recipient of these Pinocchio awards.
Unfortunately, his attitude toward construction and manufacturing jobs is one that would stop jobs for hard-working Americans.
So I ask my colleagues on both sides of the aisle--and this is very significant. We are talking about jobs. We are talking about important jobs. We are talking about high-paying jobs. I am a little biased because in Cushing, OK, we are the hub of these pipelines going through America. So what is going to positively affect our economy nationwide will probably be even more in my State of Oklahoma.
The President has done a lot of talking about the transportation infrastructure. Of course, this pipeline is part of it. We think about transportation infrastructure as roads, highways, and bridges. I applaud every time I hear him saying we need to do something about our transportation infrastructure. Unfortunately, it is always just words. He never follows through. He had a program on two different occasions that was going to be very ambitious and was going to start constructing new highways. He was very specific about where they were going to go. But then that was the end of it. He got the word out there, and everyone heard about it and agreed that he must be for highways, but then he forgot about it.
I am pretty biased here because I chair the Environment and Public Works Committee that deals with all the infrastructure. I would say this: We are embarking on a very ambitious transportation reauthorization bill, and it is one that is going to include lots of modes of transportation. Of course, it would all be a part of this pipeline and the benefits that are coming through it. So I would say he does a lot of talking about that, but we are going to really have to get down and do it.
I often wonder what could have happened 6 years ago. Just to refresh our memories, the first thing this President did was his $825 billion stimulus bill. How better could you stimulate the economy than having an ambitious transportation bill? I remember my colleague on the other side of the aisle, Barbara Boxer, and I offered amendments on this amount. I, of course, vigorously opposed the $825 billion--that was a checkbook given to the President in the opening months of his office. But the fact was that it was going to pass, and we knew they had the votes to pass it right down party lines--which it did--and then he was going to be in a position to say: We are now going to be doing these things. So Barbara Boxer and I thought, well, let's get a percentage. I think our amendment was 8 percent would be reserved--a modest amount-- for highways. If we really want to stimulate the economy, there is no better way to do it than that way.
That is kind of a background of what has been happening.
I really believe, now that we have a majority, that we are going to get busy and try to get this done and will be successful in doing it. We have a lot of critical infrastructure projects. This is supported by the chamber of commerce and by labor unions. Almost everyone out there is in support of this.
Yesterday, I think it was, in one of the committee hearings--I wanted to [[Page S87]] make sure this was properly answered in the committee hearing because it was in a committee that I am not on, the energy committee.
One of my good friends on the Democratic side of the aisle made the statement: We are very proud of the President because our production has dramatically increased during the 6 years he has been President of the United States.
Yes, that is true, but it has been in spite of the President. Let me give a couple statistics that people are not aware of. In the shale revolution taking place in this country, we have increased, during that period of time, our production--we are really talking about shale production--by 61 percent. So 61 percent in 5 years. That is what it has been. But all 61 percent of that has been on private and State land. On Federal land--over which President Obama has jurisdiction and can stop it--while the rest has increased by 61 percent, it has decreased by 6 percent.
I think we need to make sure to remind people because we don't want the public thinking that somehow the President is not involved in a war on fossil fuels. He is definitely involved in a war on fossil fuels.
Let me mention one other thing about the shale revolution. Because of the Marcellus, what is happening back East--people have always historically thought about the West and the State of Oklahoma as being kind of where all the oil is and where the production is. That really was true for a long period of time, but with the Marcellus coming in, Pennsylvania, New York--the Northeast has been a heavy production area. In fact, I have heard figures that in Pennsylvania, the second largest employer right now is people involved in the shale production that is taking place there. I don't know that it is the second largest, but that has not yet been refuted.
So very important things are happening there, but the key to making all of this happen is the pipeline. We know that eventually we are going to be there, but there has already been a veto threat. We are going to pass a bill. I know we are going to pass a bill. It is going to pass the House and the Senate. The President will probably veto it. He said he would. I am inclined to think that a lot of my friends on the Democratic side are going to stop and think ``Wait a minute, this is good for everyone,'' and there will be a bunch of people overriding a veto. I really believe something like that is going to happen, this is so significant.
People have said: The reason we don't want this is because it is dirty. This is up in Alberta, Canada. This is going to affect the environment.
First of all, it won't. People understand that is just not a true statement. But if it were true, it is something that is ridiculous because China is already making their deal. It has been made public that China wants to have transportation across Canada that would go to the west coast and be able to be sent over to China. If that should happen, in terms of the pollution, since they don't have any safeguards over there, that would result in increasing, not decreasing, any pollution that would be associated with this production.
I know a lot of people want to talk about this. To give an idea of what all is there in moving this production around, this is a very significant chart because it shows what is out there today and what can be produced. A minute ago I talked about the Northeast. That is the Marcellus we are talking about. It is a huge benefit out there. Yet a lot of the people who represent that part of America are not even aware that this is not just the Western United States. Just look at that, and we can see.
We have an opportunity here. I feel very strongly that our friends up there with the pipeline coming down--everyone is going to benefit. We have seen the charts. Certainly the Presiding Officer has many times pulled out the charts that show the great benefits that are going to be there for the entire country, along with our rapid path to be totally independent of any other country in our ability to produce our own energy.
This is a win-win situation. We are eventually going to get it but the sooner the better. I applaud the Chair and others involved in the legislation we are going to be considering.
Mr. President, I yield the floor, and I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.