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Mike Q.
Democrat IL 5

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  • The Keystone Pipeline

    by Representative Mike Quigley

    Posted on 2015-01-08

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    QUIGLEY. Mr. Speaker, a new Congress, but the sights are familiar: the same rhetoric with no regard for the truth.

    Ahead of another ill-advised vote to approve the Keystone pipeline, the same myths are being spread pitting environmental protection against job creation.

    Winston Churchill once said: The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.

    Let us separate myths from reality. It is time to decide: truth or scare. Approval of the Keystone pipeline will have very little impact in the way of job creation but a detrimental impact on the environment and hinder our promise of a clean energy future. That is the truth.

    My question is: Why are we ignoring these facts and voting once again to approve the Keystone pipeline, which would carry one of the dirtiest energy sources on the planet? Perhaps it has something to do with the many myths associated with this project. Pipeline proponents are quick to point to the creation of jobs as the primary reason for the project's approval; however, the facts don't match up.

    According to the only independent analysis by Cornell University's Global Labor Institute, these claims are not accurate. TransCanada's job claims are complete fabrications. The Cornell report concludes that Keystone will not be a major source of jobs, nor will it play any substantial role at all in putting Americans back to work.

    The State Department says Keystone would only create 35 permanent jobs and 1,950 construction jobs for 2 years. Most of those jobs created by this project will be nonlocal and temporary.

    In reality, we can and should be creating jobs by improving our existing infrastructure and investing in clean energy, education, and research. In fact, Keystone would make it much harder for the United States to invest in clean energy jobs and address global climate change. Our best bet at a clean energy economy lies far, far away from tar sands. That is the truth.

    Proponents of the pipeline claim that Keystone will bring down gas prices for Americans, but in reality, prices at Midwestern pumps could actually increase. According to its own documents, TransCanada expects the pipeline to increase gas prices in the Midwest up to 15 cents per gallon.

    Currently, a surplus of gas in the region means that our prices stay stable. If the pipeline is built, oil companies will be able to send their product to the gulf coast for export, which will reduce the surplus and drive up costs for Midwestern consumers. That is the truth.

    On top of all this, let's not forget TransCanada is the same company that operates the existing Keystone pipeline which spilled a dozen times in the first year of operation. The twelfth spill released 21,000 gallons of oil in North Dakota, contaminating the soil and water.

    Across the country, about 3.2 million gallons of oil spill from pipelines every year. These spills pose a great threat to American drinking water, especially when you consider the proposed project route would cross 1,073 surface water bodies and affect 383 acres of wetlands.

    Most Americans understand that oil spills in the past have had severe environmental impacts, but any Keystone spill would be truly catastrophic. That is the truth.

    In the end, Keystone brings a whole lot of environmental risk and very little reward. It is time we stopped perpetuating the myths. It is time we heed the warnings. It is time we decide: truth or scare.


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