Northen Route Approval

Floor Speech

By:  John Dingell
Date: May 22, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. DINGELL. Mr. Chairman, as the House prepares to once again vote on legislating approval of a presidential permit to construct the Keystone XL pipeline, I find it disappointing that the Majority refuses to work with Democratic supporters, like myself, of the pipeline. By attempting to legislate a process set in place by President George W. Bush, the Majority has succeeded in making the pipeline a political issue instead of one of unifying national energy independence. As a supporter of the Keystone XL pipeline, I oppose H.R. 3, the Northern Route Approval Act, and ask the Majority to instead work with the Administration to approve this project and legislate issues that can further enhance our energy independence rather than playing partisan politics.

The intent of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is to provide transparency so communities can know the impact of projects on their neighborhoods. However, H.R. 3 circumvents that transparency by simply deeming approved the NEPA review. H.R. 3 also deems approved permits under the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act. When these laws were passed, they were not revolutionary, they were commonsense, and were passed on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis. One could even say these environmental laws were so important that they were, in fact, nonpartisan. Allowing those processes to run their courses is also commonsense and should be nonpartisan.

This pipeline will eventually be built either south from Canada to the Gulf Coast or west to the Pacific where the Canadian oil will be sent to China. As a supporter of the pipeline and American energy security, I, for one, would prefer to see those manufacturing, construction, and other jobs created here in the U.S.

Allowing the process provided under these laws to unfold does not mean you have to be opposed to the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The majority claims that this bill is necessary to ``address continued regulatory uncertainty.'' However, this bill does exactly the opposite; it circumvents the established process and potentially opens the project to lawsuits that will ensure the pipeline is kept in the court system for years to come.

I oppose this bill, which gives special treatment to a foreign company not afforded to domestic companies. The House should be doing more to secure our country's energy independence instead of playing political games with our nation's energy future. As a supporter of the Keystone XL pipeline, I urge you to oppose H.R. 3.

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