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Mr. DUNCAN of South Carolina. I appreciate the gentleman from Colorado for allowing me to have a little time to talk about this.
Canada is our largest and best trading partner. A good friend of mine was an ambassador to Canada, and I had the opportunity up there to talk with him about this issue and why it's important to the United States. Why Keystone XL pipeline? How about the refining capacity we've got in the gulf? How about the refining jobs that would be provided in a very hard-hit, post-Horizon gulf State economy?
The gentleman from Texas was very clear. They understand in Texas, as they do in North Dakota, that energy is a segue to job creation. If you look at the unemployment rate in Texas or in North Dakota, North Dakota has 3 percent unemployment. If you're looking for a job in this country, America, go to North Dakota. There are good-paying energy jobs right there today, and if we can get Keystone XL pipeline to be a reality, we'll have good-paying, long-term jobs in the refineries in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and in all the places that we're going.
What I would like to talk about are the President's own words. He said in his statement--and this is from the White House's Web site--that the rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline's impact.
Now, how long has this been going on that they've been doing the environmental impact assessment that you talked so brilliantly about? I came to Congress last year. This was going on well before I came here. A rushed assessment? Under the Obama administration, with an $800 billion stimulus package and an unprecedented growth in government, don't you think that we had the personnel in the Department of Energy to deal with this and to do the assessment in a timely manner in order to approve a pipeline that would provide, not only American energy independence, but North American energy independence? This would be buying oil and natural gas from our largest and best trading partner, our friends in Canada, and providing good-paying jobs in America.
I want America to listen to what the President also said in his own statement. He said that he was disappointed that Republicans focused on this decision. We should focus on this decision. This is about American energy independence, and it's about jobs. Yet he goes on to say, But it does not change my mind, and this administration's commitment to American-made energy that creates jobs--and listen closely--and reduces our dependence on oil. Period. It's not reducing our dependence on foreign oil; it's not reducing our dependence on Middle Eastern oil and on oil from countries that oftentimes don't like us very much. It's the lessening of our dependence on oil. Period.
That is the dynamic that is driving this administration's policies, and America needs to know that. These resources don't belong to President Obama. They belong to the American people, and it's time we step up to the plate and we use energy as a segue to job creation in this country. We trade with trading partners that like us, friendly trading partners within our own hemisphere. It's North American energy independence, and the Keystone XL pipeline is the answer to putting Americans back to work.
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