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Affordable Energy

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. You know, when I look at this issue of energy, what strikes me is the President talking about jobs sounds good, but he doesn't like this sort of job or that sort of job. For example, he talks about wanting to create jobs, but he doesn't want the Keystone pipeline kind of jobs, he doesn't want the kind of jobs that come from coal. He doesn't want the kind of jobs that come from fracking, this technology that we have developed in the United States that is helping us lead the world. So he wants to talk about jobs, he has this idea that there are somehow these jobs out there, but not the ones that are right under his nose.

I am holding in my hand a Washington Post article from earlier this year, and the headline is, ``European Industry Flocks to U.S. to Take Advantage of Cheaper Gas.''

Wait a minute. I've heard the President talk a lot about jobs. I've heard him talk a lot about wanting more manufacturing jobs. Natural gas that is being developed here in this country, cheap natural gas, clean-burning natural gas, abundant natural gas, that is what is helping this economy.

Despite all the regulatory obstacles that this President has put in front of this economy, despite record debt, despite all of the problems that we in this body want to address, the economy is still doing some incredible things because the private sector is leading, and natural gas is a big part of that.

I've got another article here from The Wall Street Journal, from October of last year. The headline is ``Cheap U.S. Gas is Europe's loss.'' Manufacturing in Europe moving to the United States because of innovation in the area of natural gas.

Now, the interesting thing is I know the President is in a political bind because workers want jobs and environmentalists want to kill a lot of these projects, so he's torn between the two. How about you just go with the jobs?

Working Americans need jobs, Mr. President. And it seems to me, those are the folks that you ought to put first.

And I would note that there's a lot of talk by the environmentalists about killing coal and having a war on coal. Do they not realize that if you kill coal use in a country that regulates it very closely and that has developed clean coal, that coal's still going to be used?

But who's it going to be used by?

It's going to be used by China, where they don't have the clean air rules that we do, and so they're going to make even more pollution. Instead of turning to clean coal and the coal technology that we have here, he's sending it overseas.

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Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. This is another reason that folks may want to go elsewhere to create jobs. We've got the gift of abundant, cheap energy. Let's not mess it up.

And let's be clear. This is not just a war on coal. This is a war on working people. This is a war on the family who is sitting at their table trying to figure out how they're going to pay their power bill, how they're going to heat or cool their home, how they're going to put food on their table.

And you know what?

Energy costs. We all know this. When it goes up, it's passed down through the cost of product.

I will tell you that Arkansas, where I'm from, a big percentage of our energy is based on coal

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Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. I would like to lay this out and give the President the opportunity to digest what I'm about to say and change his mind on the Keystone pipeline. We know that he's been torn between workers on one side and environmental extremists on the other. And he's been looking and grasping for any excuse not to approve the affordable energy and the jobs that come with the Keystone pipeline. And there's a lot of these same, similar arguments, whether you're talking about coal or the Keystone pipeline or the natural gas that we're getting out of the ground that has really revolutionized this country and provided so many jobs for so many workers.

But one of the reasons that opponents of the Keystone pipeline have said that they're opposed to the Keystone pipeline is that the tar sands that's being taken out of the ground in Canada at its core, its bitumen, which is a little bit different kind of crude, a lot of them have said, Well, we're opposed to the Keystone pipeline because it's different than other pipelines. This crude is different. This crude is more corrosive. This crude is dangerous. This crude should not be going through pipelines across this country because it is somehow more dangerous.

Well, I've got great news for the President tonight if he's watching this. The great news is in January of 2012, we put in a requirement in the legislation. I want to be real clear about this because this is breaking news. It broke today. It hasn't gotten a lot of attention, but it's critical. We put in our bill that became law that the Obama administration needed to do a study through the Department of Transportation to determine whether this bitumen really was different than other crude, whether it was really more dangerous to pass through a pipeline across the country, whether it was really something we needed to be extra worried about. Because all the environmentalists, all the different folks who opposed the Keystone pipeline preach about bitumen and how dangerous it is.

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Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. Here's the study, my friend. And this is just great news. It's from the National Research Council and not some third-party political group working for the Obama administration, the Secretary of Transportation, pursuant to this Congress's request that they study it. I have got the executive summary right here. And this just came out today. Here's what they concluded. And this is big news because this is one of the reasons the President is against the Keystone pipeline.

It says:

The committee does not find any causes of pipeline failure unique to the transportation of diluted bitumen. Furthermore, the committee does not find evidence of chemical or physical properties of diluted bitumen that are outside the range of other crude oils or any other aspect of its transportation by transmission pipeline that would make diluted bitumen more likely than other crude oils to cause releases.

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Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. I wish I could have said it that clearly. But the bottom line is, this isn't Tim Griffin saying it. This is the Obama administration's own study that we mandated they conduct. And I'll tell you, if you look at the argument against the Keystone pipeline that the environmental extremists have been putting out there, this is numero uno, number one, at the top. They've been basing almost their whole deal on this. And the Obama administration says, Sorry, not backed up by the facts.

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Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. I would almost rather the President just be straight up and say, I only like some kinds of jobs. And I don't like any of those kind.

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Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. Just be straight up with us, President. Just say, I've got a war on coal. I've got a war on the Keystone pipeline. I've got a war on natural gas and removing it out of the ground, slowing down permits. I like a certain kind of energy, and I'm going to try to fund it through the government. Just be straight up.

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Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. Well, I would also point out, again, going to the environmental responsibility that we have--you as a mother; I'm a father of two, a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old--we all want clean air and clean water for them.

I would point out that Duke University last month, working with the University of Arkansas and working with the Obama administration's own U.S. Geological Survey, tested about 130 wells in Arkansas, something like that, and concluded that well water was not polluted by the natural gas extraction that's going on there. Just more factual evidence that we can have the jobs; and if we extract the energy responsibly, we can take care of the environment at the same time.

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Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. I totally agree with the gentleman. We understand--and hopefully we can get more and more folks to understand--that this body is not creating the jobs. We want the private sector to continue to create the jobs and lead. But sometimes the barriers to job creation and growing jobs in this country are barriers that Washington has put into place.

I find that a lot of the times when we're legislating in this body, we're not trying to create jobs to get in the way of the private sector. We go to people in the private sector and we say, what's your biggest hurdle? What's your biggest barrier? How can we help you grow more jobs? And more often than not they will say: Get out of the way. A lot of the bills that we put on the floor are to help Washington get out of the way, move it out of the way and let the private sector continue to lead in this area.

I want to mention one more thing real quickly on optimism. If you study where we are as a country, whether it's with regard to the debt and regulations--some of these things, yeah, we've got a lot of work to do there. But if you study where we are with regard to innovation, energy extraction, natural gas extraction, the low cost of natural gas, the companies that I mention in these articles that are moving from Europe, I smell nothing and I see nothing but optimism.

The future of this country is limitless. And when I'm long gone, my kids that are 3 and 5 now are going to be living in a country--if we do things right--that just continues to grow and has all the energy we will ever need.

And as an economist pointed out to some of us earlier tonight, if you're Russia and you're Saudi Arabia and you're looking at the innovation that has come out of American companies, and you're looking at the deposits of natural gas and shale oil that we have in North America, you're worried.

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