Mr. TERRY. Mr. Speaker, why are many of us on the House floor tonight after regular business talking about the Keystone Pipeline? Because it's a win-win--20,000 immediate contracting support jobs for the construction of a 1,700-mile pipeline from Alberta, Canada, down to our refineries in south Texas and then over to Louisiana. Beginning when this pipeline is finished, it will bring about 600,000, 700,000 barrels of oil to the United States from our good friend, Canada.
Now, just to put that amount in perspective, $700,000, they expect that by the time it's fully operational it will be $1 million.
To put it in context, today we are importing 900,000 barrels from Venezuela. We import 1.2 million from Saudi Arabia. So take it which way you want, but our friends from Canada, Alberta, just a few hundred miles north of our border, will produce enough oil to almost completely offset the heavy crude from Venezuela or Saudi Arabian oil. The reality, my friends, is that we have enough energy resources in the United States and Canada to be free of OPEC oil.
Now, we talk about 20,000 direct jobs from a $7 billion project that is sitting waiting to go. They have their project labor agreement sitting. There are union folk ready to go to work. All it has to do is be approved, the permit for this, approved by the President. Once he says yes, 20,000 people go to work and we put ourselves on a path to greater energy security.
That's one of the reasons why I fought so hard to get onto the Energy and Commerce Committee--to set us on a path to energy security where we don't have to send our money, U.S. consumers' dollars, to buy the energy necessary to propel our economy. But a funny thing happened on the road to energy security. The environmentalists said that this is heavy crude, and it is going to expel in the process too much CO
2. They want to stop fossil fuels. So instead of using the most energy-efficient refineries in the world that would have the least emissions of CO
2, I guess the environmental community would rather it go to China, where they have few pollution and carbon controls on their refineries. And by the way, China just bought half of the oil sands just a week ago; they'd be glad to buy the other half if we don't. So it's going to be refined.
The President has until February 21 to say yes or no to this. That was by act of Congress, setting that deadline, because the original application was filed September of 2008, 3 years and 4 months ago. The average is 18 months for a transcontinental pipeline. This administration has been dragging its feet because they don't want to irritate the environmental community, which has been heightened now since we're into an election year. I wish we could have done this before we got into 2012, where it could be based on the merits and not the politics, but politics is what we're dealing with right now. The President said several times in the last few weeks that, geez, because Congress has forced my hand on making a decision before February 21, that's not enough time, so I may just have to deny it. Well, that's complete bull.
Here's a document. I apologize to the gallery and maybe our C-SPAN viewers because the print is rather small, but this is an administration document from their agency dated July 25, Executive Office of the President, July 25. Let me read the important sentence here, the significant sentence in their document, the bill that we had then on July 25. They say it's unnecessary because the Department of State--who makes the recommendation to the President--has been working diligently to complete the permit decision process for the Keystone XL pipeline and has publicly committed to reaching a decision before December 31, 2011.
Two other documents from the State Department have said that they have all the information they need, they're working diligently, and they will have the recommendation to the President by December 31, 2011, which of course they have not made. And the President says, geez, Congress, no reason for you to get involved because we're working diligently and we have all the information we need, and we will make a decision. Then, just prior to December 31, they're starting to say we want more information, or you're putting us in a box where we're going to have to say no. Bull. This is all politics. Stop playing politics, Mr. President, and put us on a road that we can be energy independent. And at a time of high unemployment, where these tradespeople are standing around waiting for work, put them back to work now, Mr. President.