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Public Statements

The Keystone XL Pipeline

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, I have got energy on my mind tonight too. It's a wonder, or I should say it's not a wonder, that everybody who comes to the floor of the House has this common theme, Mr. Speaker, that we have an economy that's in trouble, we have a regulatory network that is going out of control. And we have energy needs in this country that feed, that feed the economic heart of this country, and we're struggling to find that food.

Mr. Speaker, I have here, you can't see it, but it's an editorial from The Washington Post. It's January 19 of this year. Now, you know, Mr. Speaker, and as folks do who have a chance to read The Washington Post, it is one of the most liberal newspapers in this entire Nation. Now there are a few, San Francisco Chronicle or others, that might able to compete, but one of the most liberal newspapers in this country.

And they put an editorial in their newspaper speaking on behalf of the newspaper editorial board on January 19, the day after President Obama announced his decision to block the Keystone pipeline, and this is what it said. It's entitled, ``A Kink in the Pipeline,'' and the headline reads--you won't be able to see this on the screen, Mr. Speaker--but it says, Approving the Keystone XL project should have been an easy call for the administration. Approving the Keystone XL project should have been an easy call for the administration.

This is from one of the most liberal newspapers in the country, Mr. Speaker, saying why, Mr. President, why did you choose to stand in the way, and they've got some ideas. The Washington Post has some ideas about that. The editorial begins like this: On Tuesday, President Obama's jobs council reminded the Nation that it is hooked on fossil fuels and will be for a long time. The council said this--it's going to require the United States to optimize all of its natural resources and for states to construct pathways, pipelines, transmission, and distribution to deliver electricity and fuel.

But that's what it's going to take, Mr. Speaker, to get the economy back on track. It's going to require that the United States optimize all of its natural resources.

It added that the regulatory and permitting obstacles that threaten the development of some energy projects negatively impact jobs and weaken our energy infrastructure. Mr. Speaker, you wonder why it is that I have to read this. You would say, Rob, that's common sense. Don't folks know that in the great State of Georgia?

I would tell you, Mr. Speaker, they do know that in the great State of Georgia. Where they don't know it is here in Washington, D.C., in this regulatory environment where if folks see a problem, they throw more rulemaking at it. The President's jobs council sees a problem. It's a problem--there's not enough energy infrastructure. Is the United States not maximizing its energy production?

Here's what the jobs council says, Mr. Speaker. It added, the regulatory permitting obstacles that could threaten the development of some energy projects, negatively impact jobs, and weaken our energy infrastructure need to be addressed immediately. And this is what The Washington Post says. Mr. Obama's jobs council could have started out by calling, well, the Obama administration to help in this effort.

On Wednesday the State Department announced that it had recommended rejecting the application of the TransCanada Corporation to build the pipeline, rejecting

it. The President's jobs council, Mr. Speaker, says we need to maximize every energy opportunity that we have. If we are to see our economy succeed, we must access every bit of energy that we can domestically. We must find transportation mechanisms for it, pipelines, transmission facilities. And the White House says no, no.

The editorial goes on. Environmentalists have fought the Keystone pipeline furiously, and in November, the State Department tried to put off the politically dangerous issue until after next year's election.

Mr. Speaker, you came here for the same reason that I came here, and that is to take on the politically dangerous issues. We didn't run for Congress so that we could dodge the tough questions. We came to Congress so we could speak out on the tough questions. We came to Congress because we represent folks back home who view these issues with the common sense that America always does.

If you have an energy crisis, what do you need? You need more energy. Do you need energy efficiency? Of course. Do you need energy conservation? Of course.

But we have resources, Mr. Speaker, in this country. We have been so blessed. God has blessed this Nation with energy resources, and we have to harvest them.

The State Department wants to put the decision off because it's politically dangerous. When do they want to put it off to, Mr. Speaker? Until after the next election. So it's unconscionable. The Washington Post makes that point and goes on.

Listen to the cynicism that's here, Mr. Speaker. This is what it's come to in Washington, D.C. The Washington Post says this: We almost hope this was a political call because on the substance there should be no question. The Washington Post says, we hope it was the President just playing politics, Mr. Speaker. We hope it was the President just playing to the radical, leftist wing of its party. We hope that it was because if he's looking at the substance, if he's looking at the same facts that we are, it should have been no question, an easy call.

Hear this, Mr. Speaker. Without the pipeline, Canada will still export its oil. And with the long-term transglobal market, it's far too valuable to keep in the ground. But it would go to China, Mr. Speaker.

You're from a part of the world like I am, Mr. Speaker, where we care about the environment. We're hunters, we're fishermen, we're farmers. No one plays outside more than you and I do, Mr. Speaker. No one works outside more than you and I do.

We care about our communities, and you tell me which community is going to treat the world's environment the best, Mr. Speaker. Is it going to be your community back home? Is it going to be my community back home? Or is it going to be the industrial machine that is mainland China? Mr. Speaker, we can either bring this oil from Canada to America and use it responsibly, or we can ship that oil from Canada to China, where it would surely go, so says the Washington Post.

We go on: Environmentalists and Nebraska politicians say the route the TransCanada pipeline proposed might threaten the State's ecologically sensitive areas. And in consultation with Nebraskan officials, they decide to proceed, even though the government announces last year, concluded that the original path would have had limited adverse environmental impact. Hear that. Here it is, a private pipeline going to go through America, Mr. Speaker, going to try to feed America's energy needs so we don't have to import oil from folks who hate us overseas. Folks said we have some concerns about the original pipeline path. The Federal Government does a study, they say we don't see any problem. We see very limited environmental impact, but if it's a concern to you, we'll move it. Willing to move it.

Environmentalists go on to argue that some of the fuel in U.S. refineries that produce China's bitumin might be exported elsewhere.

Don't bring the oil to America, Mr. Speaker. Why? Because it might get refined in American refineries by American companies, using American workers, and we might sell that to another nation at a profit. For whom? For Americans.

Don't do it. Don't do it, Mr. Speaker. In this tough economy, don't you bring those products back to America. Don't you bring them to American factories. Don't you put American workers back to work. Why? Because we might export it to a foreign land to make a profit.

Mr. Speaker, that's what we need to be doing, and The Washington Post knows it to be true.

Here's how The Washington Post concludes, Mr. Speaker: There are far fairer, far more rational ways to discourage oil use in America, the first of which is establishing higher gasoline taxes. Environmentalists should fight for policies that might actually do substantial good instead of tilting against Keystone XL, and President Obama should have the courage to say so.

Those are not my words, Mr. Speaker. That comes from The Washington Post editorial board. President Obama should have the courage to say so. He should have the courage to stand up to the radical left. He should have the courage to stand up for American job creators. He should have the courage to stand up for American, North American, energy independence.

The headline, Washington Post, Mr. Speaker: Approving the Keystone XL project should have been an easy call for the administration. The Washington Post, Mr. Speaker. We hope it was a political call because on the substance, there should have been no question. And if you believe it happened for environmental reasons, Mr. Speaker, instead of political reasons, there are far fairer, far more rational ways to discourage oil use. President Obama should have had the courage to say so.

We're not done with this issue in the House, Mr. Speaker. You know, we're going to continue to bring this issue back because we know where the American people stand on it. They stand for energy independence. They stand for American jobs. They stand for American manufacturing, and we can achieve those goals with that all-of-the-above energy policy that harnesses all of the God-given bounty that America has and puts it to work for the American worker.

Mr. Speaker, let me go on to the President's State of the Union address. He rejected the Keystone pipeline a week before the State of the Union. Here's what he said in the State of the Union: It's time to double down on a clean energy industry that never has been more promising.

Mr. Speaker, we have an opportunity to do something today about rising energy costs. We have an opportunity to do something today with the Keystone pipeline. We can put 20,000 workers to work today. We can bring $70 million worth of oil into this country a day. We can do that with Keystone pipeline. The President says no, I'm canceling Keystone pipeline. I'm going to double down on clean energy because it's never been more promising.

Mr. Speaker, I believe in clean energy. I believe in clean energy. What I believe in even more, though, is energy independence, and we can't get to energy independence with the clean energy resources that we have today. We have to use the resources that we have here in this country. And once we achieve energy independence, Mr. Speaker, the entire conversation in America will change. The entire conversation will change from how much to from where, and we can do the doubling down on green energy. But the President wants to double down on green energy today. Why? Because it's been his calculation in his 3 years in office, Mr. Speaker, that the environment has never been more promising.

Let's see.

The President's promising environment, Mr. Speaker: Solyndra, bankrupt. Loans guaranteed by the taxpayer, $535 million; a half-billion dollars, Mr. Speaker, sent out the door through crony capitalism and this administration. Down the drain, Solyndra, bankrupt.

What about Ener1? Guaranteed loans by the taxpayer, $118 million. How'd that project work out? Bankrupt. That's okay, Mr. Speaker. Maybe there are some successes.

What about Beacon Power? No, $43 million from taxpayers, Mr. Speaker. How'd that project work out? Bankrupt.

President Obama says the environment has never been more promising. If he's looking at the same financials you and I are looking at, Mr. Speaker, he sees bankrupt project after bankrupt project after bankrupt project. And we're doing this why? We're sending out government dollars, why? These taxpayer dollars, why, Mr. Speaker? A half-billion to Solyndra; $100 million to Ener1; $43 million to Beacon Power. We're sending those out why? Because we have energy needs in this country that cannot be satisfied because the President has stopped the Keystone XL pipeline, which was going to be built with what? Half a billion dollars in government loans? No, with private sector initiatives, private sector initiatives, to bring fuel that we know that we can use today to refineries where we know we can process it, whether we use it here or whether we export it abroad.

The President thinks there has never been a better time than now, Mr. Speaker, to double down on the green energy projects funded by the taxpayer.

We see here, Mr. Speaker, those have all been busts. And it's not that we can't do green energy, Mr. Speaker, it's that we have to let the marketplace choose those things. Crony capitalism doesn't work. Government picking winners and losers doesn't work. You know who picks winners and losers? The American consumer. You know who picks winners and losers well? The American marketplace, not the American government. We've got to take that power out of Washington, D.C., and return it to industry, and we will succeed.

The President knows this in his heart. Listen to what he says, Mr. Speaker: ``We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years, and my administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy. Experts believe this will support

more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade.''

Do you know when he said that, Mr. Speaker? That was in his State of the Union speech. That was right here. Right here from where we are tonight, Mr. Speaker. He spoke these words just a week ago. He knows we have a supply of natural gas that can fuel this country for 100 years, that will support 600,000 new American jobs.

Well, golly, I bet we're going to go right after that today. We're going to start right now. Why, Mr. Speaker, because it's 84 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered natural gas. Who has that? Is it Saudi Arabia? No, it's America. Is it Iran or Iraq? No, it's America. Is it Venezuela and Hugo Chavez? No, it's America. We have 84 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered natural gas, 3.4 billion barrels of undiscovered natural gas liquids. These are the fuels, Mr. Speaker, that will fuel the American economy for the next decade.

The President knows it. The President says we can fuel 100 years of America; 600,000 jobs in America. We know where it is. Let's talk about how we're going to get it, Mr. Speaker.

The good news about America, and I say this, Mr. Speaker, as I know you say to all of your constituents who are struggling: The good news about America is there is nothing wrong with America that we didn't do to ourselves. There's nothing. There is no worker who produces more than the American worker. There is no system of government that's more responsive to the people than ours. There is no engine of economic growth more powerful than the American entrepreneurial system. The President, though, knows that we have these resources. The question is, is he going to let Americans get them?

Here's where they are, off the coast: The Outer Continental Shelf: 2.28 trillion cubic feet in Washington and Oregon; 3.5 trillion cubic feet in northern California; 2.49 in central California; 7.76 in southern California.

It continues here along the east coast. In my home State of Georgia, Mr. Speaker, 2.4 trillion off the coast. Here in the Mid-Atlantic, right off the coast of Washington, D.C., 19.36 trillion cubic feet.

In the Gulf of Mexico, 16 trillion cubic feet.

We know, Mr. Speaker, this is the assessment of undiscovered but technically recoverable oil and gas resources on the Nation's Outer Continental Shelf. This comes from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. We know where these resources are.

And they're not just there, Mr. Speaker. They are where Americans often turn for energy resources, in Alaska. In Alaska, 76 trillion cubic feet. Over in the Beaufort Sea, 27 trillion cubic feet. All around the coast of Alaska, Mr. Speaker, you see opportunity after opportunity after opportunity. Again, not to send money to folks who hate us, not to send American dollars to overseas enemies because of the hook that they have in us because of our oil needs.

Mr. Speaker, we have the ability to meet these needs with American production harvested by whom? American workers. Done through what? American companies. Whose dollars go where? To the American way of life. We can do those things. It's a national security issue, and it's an economic issue. The question is, Why aren't we, Mr. Speaker? And that is a political issue. You saw it in The Washington Post. The Washington Post said we hope the decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline was just a political issue because of the facts, there's no reason not to move forward. It must just be a political issue. Well, we saw that the President, in the State of the Union speech, said, I want to go after it all. I know that we've got 100 years of energy in natural gas. We can fuel 600,000 American jobs.

Well, what do the politicians say? Let's look just here in Alaska. Lisa Murkowski said, Americans can benefit from the tremendous resources in Alaska's Outer Continental Shelf. She votes ``yes.'' Congressman Don Young here in the House said that the OCS would provide 1.2 million new jobs. Why are we continuing to send our hard-earned money overseas? Don Young votes ``yes.'' The other Senator from Alaska says, My message to the President is that as America's energy storehouse, our State of Alaska can and should responsibly supply a significant portion of our country's energy needs. That's three for three, Mr. Speaker. Every Federal elected official from the State of Alaska says we've got energy here, and we want to harvest energy here to help fuel America, to help fuel America. We're in. We're in.

Mr. Speaker, do you know who's not in? President Barack Obama. He said all the right things in the State of the Union speech, Mr. Speaker. As the words were coming out of his mouth, I thought, I'm with you, I'm with you, time after time thinking that's the right thing to do. Now, sadly, I thought the same thing a year ago when so many of those same things were said. I said, I'm with you, it's the right thing to do.

We talked about abolishing corporate tax rates in this country so that we'll be able to bring more American companies here so we can create more jobs. I said, I'm with you. I voted for a budget here in the House last year that would do just that. I introduced a bill here in the House, a Fair Tax, that would do just that; and I got no support at all, Mr. Speaker, from the White House--not on our budget, not on the Fair Tax, not on any corporate tax reform bill whatsoever.

We had that Joint Select Committee at the end of the year, Mr. Speaker. They could have done anything--anything--to reform our economy, to get our fiscal house in order and to put American job creation back on track. They could have done anything. It was guaranteed to come to the floor of the House for a vote, and they produced nothing at all. And the President supported that effort not at all.

Here we are on the Outer Continental Shelf, 1.76 billion acres, Mr. Speaker, 1.76 billion acres--38 million open for exploration, 97 percent off limits. Do I need to go back, Mr. Speaker, to what the President said? We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years. My administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy. Experts believe, he says, this will support more than 600,000 American jobs by the end of the decade--97 percent off limits.

Now, good news, Mr. Speaker. The Department of the Interior controls so many of these resources. They put out a 5-year plan. They talk about when it is we're going to be able to open up these areas. I'll just take you back to Alaska, Mr. Speaker, Alaska where so much of America's energy production comes from. Right here in the Beaufort Sea, 27.64 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The Department of the Interior under the Obama administration, Mr. Speaker, said we're going to let you start leasing up there in 2015--2015.

I looked at my watch before I came down here, Mr. Speaker. It's 2012 and just barely into that--2012. You heard in the State of the Union speech: we have a supply of natural gas that can last America 100 years, and my administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy because it can provide 600,000 American jobs. We know where the energy is, Mr. Speaker. The President's agency in charge says, just wait another 3 years, we'll let you in. Right here in this Chamber, Mr. Speaker, the President said he would do everything--everything--in his power. I'm asking you, Mr. Speaker, has he done anything? Has he done anything?

There is nothing wrong with America that we didn't do to ourselves. God blessed us with these resources. It's man's law that won't let us get them out of the ground. Our friends in Canada, Mr. Speaker, want to open up a pipeline to bring hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil into America every day, the market price of which is $70 million a day. Mr. Speaker, we're using the oil anyway in our cars, our factories, plastics--all of our products. We're already using the oil. The question is where do we get it? And today we send that same $70 million to Iraq, to Venezuela, and to Oman.

Mr. Speaker, we could have energy independence in this Nation if we applied ourselves to it, and it would change our foreign policy forever. If not in this Nation, Mr. Speaker, we could have energy independence on this continent. Our friends in Mexico, our friends in Canada, and we could collectively have energy independence. Why don't we? Why don't we, Mr. Speaker? And the answer is, as The Washington Post said, because in terms of leadership in this Nation, we lack the courage.

I just want to make that clear, Mr. Speaker. Let's go back to an issue that's going to come up over and over and over again until the President gets it right. It's the Keystone pipeline. When I say we lack the courage, Mr. Speaker, you and I both voted to move this Keystone project along. The AFL-CIO has endorsed moving this project along. It's not a Republican-Democratic issue, Mr. Speaker. It is an American jobs versus radical leftist agenda issue. The Washington Post, the most liberal newspaper in the area, one of the most liberal in

the country, Mr. Speaker, said on its face there is no question that approving the Keystone XL project should have been an easy call for the administration. The courage that we're asking for from the President, Mr. Speaker, is to stand up to the most radical, most leftist, and most anti-jobs segment of his party. That's the ask.

When The Washington Post here says President Obama should have had the courage to say so, they weren't saying, shake up the apple cart, Mr. Speaker. They weren't saying, take some dangerous untrodden path through the woods. They were saying, approve the project that on its face there could be no question about. Approve the project that our friends in Canada have already endorsed; approve the project that brings North American oil to America instead of shipping it to China; approve the project that saves $70 million a day keeping it in North America instead of shipping it to the Middle East; approve the project that will improve 20,000 jobs today and more going forward; approve the project, as the President said, through our natural gas resources and through our oil resources that could support 600,000 new jobs by the end of the decade.

Who is the beneficiary, Mr. Speaker? You have the same town hall meetings I do. Who is the beneficiary of lower fuel prices?

Is it ExxonMobil? No. Is it the big plastics plant? Well, I'm sure they'll do better, but that's not who it is. The big beneficiary, Mr. Speaker, of lower oil prices are American families. The big beneficiary, when American energy prices drop, are American workers. The big beneficiary, when we make these easy decisions to look to America's energy resources first, the beneficiary is the American economy. Should have been an easy call, Mr. Speaker. Should have been an easy call. I know you believe that. I believe that. The Washington Post believes that.

Mr. Speaker, I don't know how we'll find that true voice in the President's State of the Union speech. You know, there's so much double-speak in this town. It's sometimes tough to know what folks are actually saying. Rather than guess at what folks are actually saying, I blew it up in big words and put it right here because I wanted to be able to see it; I wanted to be able to remember it. Here's what the President says: ``We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years. And my administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy because experts believe this will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade.''

Mr. Speaker, it's up to you and me. We have to hold the President accountable for these words. You cannot say these words when you're speaking to the American people in the State of the Union. You cannot say these words when you speak to the House and Senate here in joint session in the State of the Union. You cannot say these words while canceling the largest opportunity we have for energy independence in this country. You cannot say these words when you're actually focusing your energy, your efforts, taxpayer money on these projects that we've proven time and time again don't work. You cannot say these words, Mr. Speaker, when you know we have 1.76 billion acres that we could explore, but only 38 million are open for exploration, meaning 97 percent are off limits.

Mr. Speaker, this debate does not end tonight. This debate begins tonight. You, me, and the American people, we can make a difference; and we owe it to the American people to do that.

Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the time.


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