Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Actby Representative Peter A. DeFazio
Posted on 2015-02-11
DeFAZIO. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may
Madam Speaker, for anyone watching this debate for the 11th time who isn't familiar with the substantive reasons to oppose this legislation, I would refer them to my earlier remarks numerous times on the floor of the House because, in the interest of time, I am not going to repeat them.
I am going to say that I am pleased that this is actually a big step forward for the other side of the aisle in the House because there are two critical changes that the Senate made which go to a raging debate on the Republican side of the aisle here in the House, and that is whether or not climate change is real or a hoax.
By voting for this bill today, you are going to endorse language saying that climate change is real and not a hoax. I think that is tremendous progress for the Republican side of the aisle, who I expect will be supporting this bill to accept the reality of climate change. I am thrilled that that is in there, and their votes will be reflected in the Record as endorsing that language.
Secondly, Madam Speaker, one of the other substantive issues we have raised numerous times is that this foreign corporation will not-- because of a bizarre ruling by the Internal Revenue Service--will not be paying into the trust fund which goes to mitigate pipeline spills, breaks, and cleanups: the oil spill liability trust fund.
We have offered that as a motion to recommit numerous times here on the floor, thinking it would be a reasonable thing to level the playing field between U.S. producers shipping oil and a Canadian company shipping oil which is going to be exported from the United States perhaps after it is refined.
Again, this will be a shift on the Republican side of the aisle because you will be voting for language that says, ``Congress should approve a bill to ensure that all forms of bitumen or synthetic crude oil derived from bitumen are subject to the per-barrel excise tax associated with the oil spill liability trust fund,'' which would be I think the first time the Republican side has endorsed any sort--well, no, there was a tax increase for inland waterways users buried in that bill in December--but this will be only the second time that Republicans here have voted to increase a tax.
I am really thrilled to see that and the fact that we will be righting that inequity, and essentially, the Republicans will be endorsing something that we have offered numerous times on the floor.
The third thing--which really isn't an improvement--is some Senators stuck in language saying that when this foreign corporation takes American citizens' private property against their will, they have to follow the Constitution.
Well, unfortunately, because of the Kelo decision--which we did try a number of years ago to clarify and overturn--the Supreme Court, in its wisdom, has ruled that you can yield the right, for economic development purposes, to a private entity to take peoples' private property.
We are going one step--or you are going one step further here by actually giving that authority to a foreign corporation. As far as I know, this is the first time in the history of the United States of America that a foreign corporation will have the right to take private property from an American citizen against their will. That isn't an improvement, just saying ``follow the Constitution,'' because of the ruling by the Supreme Court.
But the other two are great. Climate change exists. You are endorsing that implicitly by voting for this bill. We should increase taxes and impose taxes on this tar sands oil.
Again, I think this is a big breakthrough for the other side. I still won't be voting for the bill. I stand on the previous concerns I have raised. Those are all still extant, but these things will be worthy of noticing.
With that, Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Pallone) be allowed to control the balance of my time in addition to the time controlled by the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Oregon? There was no objection.