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Joe M.
Democrat WV

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  • Keystone XL Pipeline

    by Senator Joe Manchin, III

    Posted on 2015-01-07

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    MANCHIN. I say to the Senator, he is absolutely correct. I thank him for this opportunity not only to work with him but also to bring the facts forward.

    We have heard many times: We are all entitled to our own opinions, we are just not entitled to our own facts. If you start looking at what we are consuming today in America, at last count 7 million barrels of crude oil is purchased every day in America from other countries--7 million barrels of crude a day. So this line would possibly furnish 830,000 barrels of that dependency that we have.

    Let's look and see where it comes from right now. Mr. President, 2.5 million barrels we are already purchasing from Canada--our best, greatest ally we could possibly have; the best trading partner and the No. 1 trading partner that 35 of the 50 States have. So it is not an unknown there.

    But let's look at where we are purchasing some of the rest of the oil from. We purchase 755,000 barrels of heavy crude a day from Venezuela. Let's look at Venezuela, where it is an authoritarian regime. It impoverishes its citizens. It violates their human rights. It shows its willingness to put down political protests with horrific violence.

    We also purchase 1.3 million barrels a day from Saudi Arabia. We all have our concerns about Saudi Arabia and a lot of the money we follow goes into the wrong hands. Forty-two thousand barrels a day from Russia--from Russia. We know their intent and what they have been doing with their energy policy. Their regime has invaded its neighbors and they armed pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.

    So when we start looking at what we are doing, those are the facts. This is not just hearsay. It is not just rumors. These are facts. We purchase 7 million barrels. When I first was approached on this 4 years ago when I came to the Senate, they said: What do you think about the Keystone Pipeline that will be bringing oil from Canada into America? I said: Where I come from in West Virginia it is pretty common sense. We would rather buy from our friends than our enemies. I would rather support my friends, my allies, my trading partners more so than I would the enemies who use anything I buy from them--the money they receive from that product that I buy from them and use it against me.

    It is pretty common sense, not real complicated. I know everybody is trying to make this complicated. Also, they talk about--we just had a caucus talking about what would happen to the oil. I know the Senator has been watching this very closely. But they said the Keystone Pipeline will strictly be just an avenue and a vehicle for exporting this oil out. They are just going to use America to bring that oil through.

    We checked into that a little bit further. That is not true. Even the Washington Post gave it three Pinocchios that said it was untrue. We found out, basically, the crude oil from Canada is expected to be mixed with the domestic oil from the Bakkens, from the Senator's region, North Dakota, and that the Canadian oil is a heavier crude, similar to Venezuelan oil. It will be mixed with the light crude from the Bakkens, which enables it to flow much easier and be produced. Once it commingles, this oil is basically American oil. It lives and dies and basically is marketed with the policies of the United States of America. Our policy is not to export crude oil.

    So I do not know why people are using this argument and scaring people that we will get no benefit. Then we talked about the jobs. They said there is not that many jobs. In West Virginia, you give us 42,000 jobs. We would be very appreciative. We will thank you. These are all high-paying jobs. They said: Well, they are only contract jobs.

    But yet I hear everybody talking, Republicans and Democrats, about building roads and building bridges. Those are also seasonal types of jobs. Those are also contracting jobs. They are not permanent jobs, but we are tickled to death to get them. That is the whole trade union. All the unions that I know of are supportive of this piece of legislation. Every working man and woman whom we keep talking about who supports themselves and their family supports this legislation.

    Why we are running into such a roadblock I have no idea. Then when we put the map up--the other map we had. I said: When I first heard about this pipeline, I thought it was an anomaly that we did not have many pipelines in America. Then we put up this map. This is what we have in America today. So this is not foreign to any of us in any State we have pipelines, many in West Virginia and all through this country.

    Then we look at public support. We think: Here we are Democrats and Republicans. We look at the polls, and we live and die by the polls, they tell us, or we should. But the bottom line is that if we do believe in the polls, this has been a consistent poll. It has not varied for over 5 years. We have not seen the numbers fluctuate that much.

    Overwhelmingly, we have Americans in all aspects of the political realm--whether you are a Democrat, Republican or an Independent--who overwhelmingly support this pipeline. So I cannot see the objections to it. I was very disappointed when the President said he would veto it-- or the White House once we said we would go through this process.

    I think the Senator and I talked about this. We thought this is going to be an open process. I was encouraged by my colleagues on the Democratic side who have some good amendments, I believe, that should be considered and I believe would pass and enhance the bill. We only need four more--four more Senators on my side of the aisle who can see the benefit of a good bill, a good process with good amendments to strengthen this bill, to put us in a position that is veto-proof.

    That should be our goal. Basically, we should not be deterred by the White House or the President saying already that they are going to veto this bill. Let's see if we can make this bill so good that when we are finished with this product and this process 2 or 3 weeks from now, we will have a product that basically we are all proud of, that the American people are proud of and will support, and maybe, just maybe, the White House will change its mind.

    I am hopeful for that. I appreciate all the effort and work. We are working very well together. At last count, we had nine Democrats working with our Republican colleagues. That puts us at [[Page S42]] 63. I am hopeful to get four more at least that will look at the virtues of this and the assets and what it will do for our country.

    My main goal is this: Energy independence makes a secured and protected Nation. Anytime we do not have to depend on oil coming from other parts of the world--and the resources we give them when we purchase their product, they use those resources against us time after time again. We can see now, with the oil prices dipping, the benefits the consumers in America receive, the strength that gives our country.

    I am so thankful for that, that we are getting a break. I think we can continue to make that happen for many years to come if we are able to be smart strategically in what we do today. I think the Senator spoke about the environment. He might want to touch on that again. But most of this oil is being produced now, some way or another, and it is also getting transported in different ways and means.

    The bottom line is there is no significant environmental impact. I think the State Department has even done five studies that show that to be true. I said also 2.5 million barrels a day are being purchased from Canada today. Refineries in Illinois are now refining this product. They said we should not do it. We have been doing it for quite some time. We are using this product. With technology we are using it better. It has helped us be more independent of foreign oil.

    That is No. 1, the security of our Nation. Being an American, and for West Virginians, the security of our Nation is first and foremost what we support. That is why I think we see a tremendous amount of people from the Mountain State, I say to the Senator, who support this piece of legislation.

    We are going to work diligently. We have a long way to go, but I think the facts are on our side. We are all entitled to our opinions, but we cannot change the facts.

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