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Steve D.
Republican MT

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  • Keystone XL Pipeline

    by Senator Steve Daines

    Posted on 2015-01-07

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    DAINES. Mr. President, I applaud, first of all, the Senator from North Dakota for his leadership on this most important issue and his commitment to making it a priority for this Senate, the first bill introduced into this Senate. I also applaud the Senator from West Virginia; one example of, as we sit in this Chamber today, Republicans and Democrats discussing and supporting the Keystone XL Pipeline.

    I reiterate many of the comments expressed by my colleagues and convey the importance of this pipeline, because as the Senator from North Dakota mentioned and showed on his map, the very first State the Keystone Pipeline enters as it comes from Canada is the State of Montana. Let me tell you something. It is not just a pipeline. This is also changing the way of life and economic stimulus for our great State.

    I spend a lot of time traveling around the State in my pickup. As I drive around Eastern Montana, where the Keystone Pipeline will travel, I recognize this is a lifeline for many of our rural communities. In fact, Circle, MT--Circle, MT, is a small town of around 600 people. It is located in McCone County. It is one of six Montana counties that the Keystone XL Pipeline will run through. Circle, similar to a lot of small communities in Montana, has experienced the same economic and population declines that other towns have faced in recent years.

    In fact, the county has significant infrastructure needs that have gone unresolved in the wake of a shrinking tax base. For towns such as Circle, the Keystone XL Pipeline is not just about energy. It represents economic opportunity and hope for the future. You see, McCone County alone would see $18 million in property tax revenue from the Keystone Pipeline construction. That is just in the pipeline's first year of operation. That is money for neighborhoods. It is money for roads, not to mention the influx of jobs for the area.

    Another $45 million would be distributed among five other Montana counties, and $16 million would go to Montana's schools and university systems. You see, the Keystone XL Pipeline means lower energy costs for Montana families, for our senior citizens, and for small businesses.

    In Glasgow, MT--I remember traveling in my pickup into Glasgow. I met with the NorVal Electric Co-op. They told me that if the Keystone Pipeline is approved, they will hold electric rates flat for their customers for the next 10 years. That is several thousand Montana families up in the northeast part of our State.

    The reason for that is because they will supply electricity to these pump stations on the Keystone Pipeline. If the Keystone Pipeline is not approved, those ratepayers will see an approximate 40-percent increase in their utility rates over the next 10 years. That is a potential increase of $480 per year for the average household in Montana.

    As the Senator from North Dakota mentioned, 100,000 barrels a day of the oil traveling through the Keystone Pipeline will be Montana and North Dakota oil. That supports the Bakken formation. With the revolution of hydraulic fracturing, what it is creating now is lower gas prices at the pump today.

    Montanans know this pipeline is not just a lofty idea or some kind of DC-based rhetoric. It is hope for the people of my State. It is a tangible result and a solution that Montanans deserve. I have to tell you, that is why it is so disappointing that once again we are seeing the President and some Senate Democrats playing political games and perpetuating the 6 years of gridlock that have held back this job- creating project.

    Rather than putting the American people first, the President has threatened to refuse the people of Montana their right to determine their economic future. It took the Canadians just 7 months to approve their end of the Keystone Pipeline. It has taken this President more than 6 years. That is 6 years without the hundreds of good-paying jobs that will be created in Montana and thousands more across the Nation.

    That is 6 years without millions of dollars in critical revenue for Montana schools, for infrastructure, for teachers. That is 6 years without the answers and actions that Montanans deserve. I think the pipeline checks every box of common sense. It is environmentally sound, it creates jobs, it is economic opportunity, and it is going to help us move toward North American energy independence.

    So the question is: Why are we still waiting? The people of Montana, the people of this country have said they have had enough. That is why we are here today speaking in support of this important project. I am proud the Senate is taking steps to move forward with the Keystone XL Pipeline. I know the House intends to do the same shortly. President Obama can continue to obstruct progress on American jobs and American energy independence, but the American people have sent a strong message that they are ready to remove any roadblocks that President Obama intends to put in the way.

    The time for partisanship, the time for political games is over. It is time the Congress and this government gets to work for the American people and starts getting results for this country.

    [[Page S43]] The polls are clear. Sixty-seven percent of the American people want the Keystone Pipeline approved.

    Seventy-five percent of Montanans want the Keystone Pipeline approved. Prior to serving in Congress, I spent 28 years in the private sector, where we were focused on getting results in the real world. It seems only in DC are we outside of the real world of doing something and getting results on behalf of the American people. That starts with approving the Keystone XL Pipeline.

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