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Public Statements

Northern Route Approval Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of H.R. 3, the Northern Route Approval Act, which allows construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. I'm happy to say it passed out of full committee in Transportation and Infrastructure on May 16 with a bipartisan vote of 33 to 24.

My good friend from California is right: When is enough time enough?

My good friend from West Virginia asked: What gives us the right? What gives us the right is the Constitution.

The House of Representatives, the Senate, the legislative body, to pass laws, to move things forward, 5 years is way too long. We need to develop the energy in America. We need to bring energy from our good friends from Canada. This all adds to the regulatory burden that this administration has put on us.

This pipeline is the lifeline that powers nearly all of our daily activities.

The hallmark of America's 2.5 million-mile pipeline network continues to be that it delivers extraordinary volumes of product reliably, safely, efficiently, and economically. Pipelines are the safest and most cost-effective means to transport the products that fuel our economy. In fact, pipelines provide more than two-thirds of the energy used in the United States. The Keystone XL project will be a critical addition to this extensive network, increasing our Nation's supply of oil, and thus helping to reduce the cost of fuel used in the transportation sector.

H.R. 3 is a commonsense bill that allows construction, maintenance, and operation of the Keystone XL pipeline to move forward. The pipeline has been subject to extensive environmental reviews already conducted. In fact, it is the most studied pipeline in the history of America.

The bill would require no Presidential permit process for the approval of the pipeline, and therefore avoids further political delays of this project.

Of particular interest to taxpayers, this pipeline doesn't require one Federal dollar.

Further, the very nature of infrastructure creates jobs, and the Keystone is no exception. In fact, the U.S. State Department estimates that Keystone XL will produce 42,000 jobs--jobs that will not be created unless this project goes forward.

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Mr. SHUSTER. This project will have a significant positive economic impact, including an estimated $3.3 billion in direct expenditures for construction and materials and $2.1 billion in earnings.

Finally, as noted throughout the process, the Keystone XL will be the safest pipeline ever constructed. Let me repeat that: the safest pipeline ever constructed. It should be approved without further delay.

I urge all of my colleagues to vote for this pipeline to help secure America's energy independence.

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Mr. SHUSTER. I do rise in opposition to the amendment.

My good friend from Virginia, I understand his need to make sure that our pipelines are safe, but this amendment is redundant of existing Transportation Security Administration guidelines. It's unnecessary and simply attempts to further delay the project.

TSA guidelines bring a risk-based approach to the application of the security measures throughout the pipeline industry. As stated in the National Infrastructure Protection Plan, DHS assesses risk as a function of threats, vulnerabilities, and consequences. With this in mind, the most effective security programs employ a risk management process that facilitates protective planning and decisionmaking to mitigate the risk for pipeline assets.

The operator's risk assessment methodology is subject to review by the TSA. Therefore, risk and vulnerability to pipelines are already covered under current guidelines. There is no need to specifically single out this pipeline for further study.

Clearly, this is intended to delay the Keystone pipeline from being built, so I urge a ``no'' vote and yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. SHUSTER. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Chairman, my good friend from Oregon is right about this committee building infrastructure, but there is nothing more important right now than making sure our pipelines are in place to bring the energy safely to millions of Americans, and efficiently to millions of Americans. This is a core of what this committee does. That's why we have primary jurisdiction. That's why we're here debating this issue today.

This bill simply takes back congressional authority--constitutional congressional authority--for us to be able to pass legislation to move things forward, and in this case to move this pipeline forward. This permit as processed will set up an executive order taking away congressional authority. So I am very, very proud and pleased to stand here today and to urge my colleagues to take a vote today to take back part of our constitutional congressional authority, move this pipeline forward, creating jobs, giving us more energy security in the world.

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