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Public Statements

Northern Route Approval Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. CHU. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise today to offer an important amendment, along with Congressman Polis and Congressman Connolly, to H.R. 3, the Northern Route Approval Act, which would authorize construction of the highly controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

Our amendment calls for the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study on the cost of cleaning up oil spills from this pipeline. We need to know how much it's going to cost taxpayers to decontaminate our cities, towns, and farmlands when the pipeline leaks. We need to know how a spill will harm residents and the environment. Will it make Americans sick, pollute our water, and contaminate our farms? Americans have the right to know the full cost and harmful impacts that a spill would have.

There are many serious questions and inadequacies in some of the analyses of the project, if not glaring holes. Take greenhouse gas emissions, take pipeline safety and spill response, take alternative pipeline routes--there is too much we don't know. What we do know, though, is that the pipeline will transport oil that is heavily corrosive, making spills more likely and also more difficult and costly to clean up.

Tar sands pipelines in the U.S. have some of the worst spill records. Pipelines in North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan spilled nearly four times as much crude per mile than the national average in the last 2 years. Yet, the Keystone XL pipeline, as planned, will cut across America's heartland. It will run above the Ogallala Aquifer, which is a main source of drinking and farm water for nine States, endangering hundreds of thousands of people.

That is why I oppose the bill. We cannot rush a decision that could have so many harmful impacts on the health of thousands of Americans. And that is why I urge the House to support our amendment.

Join me in asking the GAO to study the cost of spill cleanup and its impact on our health, environment, and water. The American people deserve to know.

I reserve the balance of my time.


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