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Fred U.
Republican MI 6

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  • Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act

    by Representative Fred Upton

    Posted on 2015-02-11

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    UPTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 3 minutes.



    Here we are, once again, to debate legislation on the Keystone XL pipeline. For the past 6 years, this project has been thoroughly vetted by the Congress and the administration. There is no question in my mind that the Keystone XL is in the national interest, so let's look again at the facts: It is a jobs project. The President's own State Department has confirmed that Keystone is going to support 42,000 jobs across the country; Keystone is going to be safe. Yes, it is. Pipelines remain one of the very safest and most efficient ways to transport energy, and Keystone is going to rank at the top of the class when it comes to safety. The pipeline, in fact, is going to incorporate some 59 additional safety standards proposed by [[Page H956]] PHMSA, and it will adhere to the rigorous new pipeline safety standards on which I worked with John Dingell to get signed into law in the last Congress; Keystone is better for the environment. Yes, it is. We know that Canada is going to continue to develop its rich oil sands regardless of whether we build the pipeline. If we don't build it, that oil is going to continue to get to the marketplace through other, more carbon- intensive means; Keystone is going to enhance our energy security and help energy prices stay stable and affordable. We know this respite from high gas prices won't last forever, and prices have already begun to tick back up. By bringing more North American energy to the market, the pipeline can help protect us against future price spikes and overseas disruptions. We want as much certainty in the marketplace as we can.

    The President said last week that, again, another reason he is against this is that gas prices are low. Yesterday's Wall Street Journal headline above the fold reads: ``Oil-Price Rebound Predicted.'' That is right. They are going to go up. Americans understand supply and demand. The Keystone pipeline is very positive for us in the United States.

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to enter into the Record a letter that we received just an hour or so ago from the Canadian Embassy.

    Canadian Embassy, February 10, 2015.

    Dear Mr. Secretary, I was quite disappointed to read the comments from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with respect to the Keystone XL (KXL) application.

    The EPA derives its greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) calculations from a study using data from 2005, two years before iPhones existed, completely neglecting the innovation and emissions reductions that have since occurred in the oil sands.

    Just as communication technology has advanced in the last ten years, so too has scientific analysis of the oil sands. There are more recent credible scientific numbers on oil sands emissions reductions. Canadian government data show that per barrel emissions have fallen 28% from 1990 to 2012. In 2014, both IHS-CERA (Dan Yergin's consultancy) and the California Air Resources Board data showed that average oil sands GHG emissions are in the same range as Venezuelan and Californian heavy oil and lower than several types of Venezuelan and Californian crudes. Furthermore, IHS-CERA has determined that 45% of the crude oils consumed in the United States are within the same GHG intensity range as those of the oil sands.

    The EPA selected the highest GHG value among four studies considered by the State Department, and then assumed that KXL flows at capacity over fifty years, that KXL transports only oil sands crude, and most egregiously that the only crude displaced is Saudi light. By contrast, the State Department reported oil sands incremental emissions as a range from 1.3 to 27.4 megatonnes annually. The lower figure compared oil sands to Venezuelan and Mexican heavy crudes that would be displaced. The higher figure compared oil sands to Saudi light crude, an international benchmark, which your Department noted, is not a direct competitor for heavy crude oil refineries. Clearly, the correct comparison is to the lower figure, not the higher figure.

    In its April 22nd, 2013 comments on the same data, the EPA calculated an oil sands incremental GHG value some 46% lower than it is now claiming, and made no effort to explain why its calculation has now increased by 46%.

    The EPA chose to ignore that the oil sands are produced in the only jurisdiction supplying oil to the United States that has imposed a carbon fee which is used to fund clean energy technologies.

    The EPA questions the State Department's finding that, absent KXL, incremental volumes of Canadian oil will move to the U.S. Gulf Coast by rail. The EPA chose rather conveniently not to examine data for the last two years. Since the KXL application was first delayed in November 2011, crude oil by rail exports from Canada to the U.S. have jumped ten-fold, and continue to expand.

    The EPA neither discusses nor disputes the State Department's findings that rail represents 28-42% higher GHG emissions than KXL.

    The EPA neither discusses nor disputes the State Department's findings on safety. The State Department originally reported that KXL would represent one injury and no fatalities annually, as compared to 49 injuries and six fatalities for rail, then revised the rail figures from 49 to 189 injuries, and from six to 28 fatalities.

    The EPA chose to ignore that Canada, an ally, has committed to an absolute reduction in our GHG emissions. No other major oil supplier to the United States can make this statement. In 2012, Canada's GHG emissions were down 5.1%, with more work ahead of us.

    One is left with the conclusion that there has been significant distortion and omission to arrive at the EPA's conclusions.

    There is no significant difference between the GHG emissions from oil sands crude oil and from other heavy crude oils that would be displaced at the U.S. Gulf Coast. As compared to rail. KXL represents lower GHG emissions, as well as lower environmental and public safety risks.

    We would be pleased to discuss the gap between the EPA comments and the scientific analysis of the State Department.

    Thank you for the opportunity to raise this issue with you.

    Sincerely, Gary Doer, Ambassador.

    Mr. UPTON. In the letter from the Ambassador of Canada, he makes a number of good points, but he concludes by saying this: ``There is no significant difference between the GHG emissions from oil sands crude oil and from other heavy crude oils that would be displaced at the U.S. Gulf Coast. As compared to rail, KXL represents lower GHG emissions, as well as lower environmental and public safety risks.'' The evidence is in. The case ought to be closed. There is no good reason for President Obama not to join with Republicans and Democrats to say, yes, it is time to build.

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