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Energy, Security, American Jobs, and the Keystone XL Pipe Line

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. BARTON of Texas. I thank the distinguished gentleman from Nebraska.

Mr. Speaker, we are here today to discuss a project that is of utmost importance to the American people. As the gentleman from Nebraska just mentioned, it's called the Keystone XL pipeline. It is a proposal to extend an existing pipeline that starts in Canada, comes down through the Midwestern parts of the United States, into Oklahoma. The proposal is to extend that pipeline to the gulf coast of Texas and Louisiana.

Why is this important to every American?

Quite simply because we use lots of energy in America and because we do not produce as much as we use, so we have to import some of the energy. A lot of the energy we use comes from oil; and the Keystone XL pipeline, if built, would bring crude oil that starts up in Canada, down through the Midwest, to the gulf coast where we have about 50 percent of the United States' refining capacity.

This is a good deal because, number one, Canada is an ally. We are importing quite a bit of oil right now from Venezuela, which has a government dictator, Mr. Chavez, who is somewhat hostile to the United States. We are importing oil from the Middle East. While we have allies in the Middle East, that is an unstable region in terms of its political stability. So, if we could get more energy from North America, from Canada, that would be a good thing for us.

In the construction phase, this pipeline will create--the gentleman from Nebraska would know the exact number--somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 jobs, I believe. Once in production, with all of the spinoffs, we think up to 100,000 jobs would be created here in the United States. It would make us more secure.

When you just look at the facts of it, you have to ponder why anybody would be opposed to it.

I am puzzled as to why some of my friends on the Democratic side of the aisle are opposed to it. The State Department, under the leadership of Hillary Clinton, endorsed the pipeline. They did an impact statement that said it was positive. At one point in time, it looked like it was going to get approval and move through. The environmental groups came to Washington last fall. They surrounded the White House, and protested against President Obama. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the President decided to delay a decision until after the election, which is why we're here today.

In what we call the ``jobs bill'' that passed the House 2 days ago, there is a provision in it that requires a decision to be made on Keystone within 60 days, I believe, of the enactment of the bill if the President signs it. The President has said he would veto that bill, which shows that, while he said back in the fall that he wanted to delay a decision, apparently he opposes it. So he opposes jobs. He also opposes energy security for the United States, which is an odd platform, in my opinion, to run on in a Presidential election campaign--but it's a free country, and if the President wants to go down that trail, he has the right to do that.

So I believe that Keystone is a good idea. In my congressional district down in Texas, there are numerous pipelines. There are oil pipelines, natural gas pipelines, gasoline refined product pipelines, water pipelines. We have never had any major problems with any of those pipelines from an environmental standpoint. The Keystone pipeline would be built using the absolute latest in technology and with the latest in safety, in inspections, in maintenance. I just cannot imagine why we would oppose it.

So I am in strong support of it, and I want to thank Mr. Terry for his leadership on this issue. He has introduced bills. He has worked tirelessly in committee. He has worked tirelessly on the floor here. As I said, I hope that we get this done, but I am in very strong support. I want to thank him for his leadership, and I also want to thank Congressman Carter for his leadership. He's here today, and he has worked very diligently on the Keystone pipeline, too.

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