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Betty M.
Democrat MN 4

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  • Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act

    by Representative Betty McCollum

    Posted on 2015-02-11

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    McCOLLUM of minnesota in the house of representatives Wednesday, February 11, 2015 Ms. McCOLLUM. Mr. Speaker, I rise once again in opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act (S. 1). Despite no evidence suggesting that Congressional intervention is needed, this is the second time this Congress that the Republicans are bringing forward a bill to sidestep federal requirements and approve TransCanada's application for the Keystone Pipeline. I oppose this legislation and support the ongoing federal review of the environmental, safety, and economic impacts of this application to determine if this pipeline is truly in our national interest.

    The Keystone XL pipeline would transmit oil 1,700 miles from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada across the U.S. to the Gulf of Mexico where it would be refined and exported to global markets. According to federal law, the State Department must complete an environmental review of all cross-border projects of this magnitude. The State Department requested comments on Keystone XL by February 2, 2015 from the Pentagon, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Departments of Energy, Justice, Interior, Commerce, Transportation, and Homeland Security. The EPA released their public comments on this day stating that the recent trend of global decline in oil prices should be factored in on whether to approve Keystone XL pipeline. The State Department needs the time to thoroughly evaluate the EPA and other agencies' comments.

    In Minnesota, this project has the potential to negatively impact our economy. The Keystone XL pipeline would divert Canadian oil that now flows to refineries in Minnesota and the upper Midwest to the Gulf of Mexico. Diverting oil away from Minnesota could result in job losses at our refineries. Respected oil economist Philip Verleger wrote an op-ed published in the Star Tribune in March 2011 stating that in his expert opinion the oil diversion will diminish supply, resulting in an increase in the cost of oil and food for Minnesotans and the rest of the Midwest. In fact, he states the country as a whole would end up paying nearly $5 billion more for oil than we do today if the pipeline is built. Other economists have estimated that the pipeline will result in the creation of only 50 permanent jobs nationally.

    President Obama has stated that he will veto this legislation because S. 1 sidesteps the process for deciding whether a cross-border pipeline serves the national interest of the American people. I support the President's decision to veto S. 1. The precedent of forgoing our national due diligence in order to benefit of a foreign company is irresponsible. The American people deserve an adequate review is conducted. Trading dubious economic benefits for potentially disastrous environmental consequences and higher costs for Minnesota families and small businesses is simply not a trade I am willing to make.

    Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to join me in opposing the Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act and instead bring a bill to the House floor that works to strengthen the middle class.


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