By Mr. HOEVEN (for himself, Ms. LANDRIEU, Mr. MCCONNELL, Ms. MURKOWSKI, Mr. PORTMAN, Mr. WICKER, Mr. JOHNSON of Wisconsin, Mr. CRAPO, Mr. THUNE, Mr. JOHANNS, Mr. BLUNT, Mr. ALEXANDER, Mr. INHOFE, Mr. FLAKE, Mr. ROBERTS, Mr. CHAMBLISS, Mr. ENZI, Mr. TOOMEY, Mr. LEE, Mr. SESSIONS, Mr. SCOTT, Mr. COATS, Mr. CORNYN, Mr. KIRK, Mr. ISAKSON, Mr. GRASSLEY, Mr. RUBIO, Mrs. FISCHER, Mr. COBURN, Mr. MCCAIN, Mr. CORKER, Mr. HATCH, Mr. COCHRAN, Mr. BARRASSO, Mr. VITTER, Mr. RISCH, Mr. BOOZMAN, Mr. BURR, Mr. GRAHAM, Mr. HELLER, Mr. PAUL, Mr. MORAN, Mr. CRUZ, Mr. SHELBY, Ms. AYOTTE, Ms. COLLINS, Mr. BEGICH, Mr. PRYOR, Ms. HEITKAMP, Mr. WARNER, Mr. DONNELLY, Mr. MANCHIN, Mr. WALSH, Mrs. MCCASKILL, Mr. TESTER, and Mrs. HAGAN):
S. 2280. A bill to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline; read the first time.
Mr. HOEVEN. Mr. President, today I filed an updated bill to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline project. That bill is at the desk. What this legislation does is it approves the project congressionally, which is authorized under the Constitution of the United States. Section 8 of article 1 of our Constitution expressly gives Congress the authority to regulate commerce with foreign nations. That is the determination we are looking for here from the President on this pipeline project. The decision is simply: Is the project in the national interest or is it not?
The President and his administration have been considering this project, and
this decision--is it in the national interest or not--for more than 5 years. We are now in the sixth year. It was our expectation the process would be completed on or about the first week in May. The final environmental impact statement came out at the end of January and, as the prior environmental impact statements had determined, this environmental impact statement said there is no significant environmental impact caused by the project. This is a study done over years by this administration's Department of State. For the fourth time the report came out with no significant environmental impact created by this project. So as I say, it was the expectation of this Senate and really of Americans across the country that sometime in May the President would make a decision because all along he said he was following the process, and once the process was completed he would make a decision. A little over a week ago, on the afternoon of Good Friday--a time that I believe was selected in order to minimize the news coverage--the President or the administration made the announcement they would now delay this project indefinitely--indefinitely. Not a statement of: We are just going to follow the process, which is what had been said before. Even though the President, in a meeting with me and our conference, came out and said we would have a decision before the end of 2013. That is what he told us. That didn't happen because then he changed it to: We are going to follow the process. Now it is not even going to follow the process. He is just going to delay a decision indefinitely.
The rationale for that is that there is litigation in Nebraska as to whether the public service commission in the State of Nebraska has the right to determine the route of the pipeline through Nebraska or whether in fact the legislature does.
Some time ago, right at the beginning of 2012, we had passed legislation in this body, which I sponsored, that required the President to make a decision on the project within 90 days. We passed that bill and, in fact, he then made a decision to decline the project based on the route in Nebraska. So Nebraska went through the work of rerouting the pipeline in the State, and that new route was approved by the legislature and it was approved by the Governor. But opponents of the project decided to sue on the basis that, no, the PSC should make a decision as to the route in Nebraska.
So be it. That can be adjudicated in Nebraska, as can any other issue that somebody may choose to file a lawsuit over. But that really has nothing to do with the decision the President needs to make. The decision the President needs to make is a very simple decision: Is this pipeline project in the interest of the United States or is it not? This is after his State Department has said there is no significant environmental impact created by the project not once, not twice, but four times. So it is a simple decision.
It is a decision of whether we should have more energy that we produce in our country and that is produced in Canada, our closest friend and ally, or whether we should keep getting energy from the Middle East. It is a decision about whether we should have more jobs. The State Department says 42,000 jobs are created in constructing the pipeline. It is a decision about economic activity. This creates economic activity, with hundreds of millions in tax revenue to help reduce the deficit and debt without spending one penny of Federal money.
That is the decision before the President. But he refuses to make it. So it is long past time--long past time, as we are now in year 6--for this body to step forward and make the decision. As I said just a minute ago, we have the authority to make the decision. Section 8 of article 1 of the Constitution of the United States gives Congress the authority to regulate commerce with foreign nations. So we need to make the decision. The time is long past when we can continue to wait.
How can we continue to wait when the President says it will be an indefinite time period before he will even consider making a decision?
So the bill we have put forward is a very simple, straightforward bill. As a matter of fact, I am going to take a couple minutes and read it because it is three pages. It is an updated bill to a bill I provided on a bipartisan basis earlier. We had 27 cosponsors of the earlier legislation. We now have 56 Republicans and Democrats on this bill, and we are working very hard to get 60 so there is no procedural way to stop this legislation, but I will take just a minute and read it because it is self-explanatory, it is simple, it is straightforward, and it is common sense.
A bill to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. KEYSTONE XL APPROVAL.
IN GENERAL. TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, L.P. may construct, connect, operate, and maintain the pipeline and cross-border facilities described in the application filed on May 4, 2012, by TransCanada Corporation to the Department of State (including any subsequent revision to the pipeline route within the State of Nebraska required or authorized by the State of Nebraska).
So we have expressly put language in there to address the litigation. The litigation the President is concerned about we expressly address in the bill.
(b) ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT.--The Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement issued by Secretary of State in January 2014, regarding the pipeline referred to in subsection (a), and the environmental analysis, consultation, and review described in that document (including appendices) shall be considered to fully satisfy--
(1) all requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 .....
(2) any other provision of law that requires Federal agency consultation or review (including the consultation or review required under section 7(a) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 ..... with respect to the pipeline and facilities referred to in subsection (a).
(c) PERMITS.--Any Federal permit or authorization issued before the date of enactment of this Act for the pipeline and cross-border facilities referred to in subsection (a) shall remain in effect.
(d) FEDERAL JUDICIAL REVIEW.--Any legal challenge to a Federal agency action regarding the pipeline and cross-border facilities described in subsection (a), and the related facilities in the United States, that are approved by this Act, and any permit, right-of-way, or other action taken to construct or complete the project pursuant to Federal law, shall only be subject to judicial review on direct appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
(e) PRIVATE PROPERTY SAVINGS CLAUSE.--Nothing in this Act alters any Federal, State, or local process or condition in effect on the date of enactment of this Act that is necessary to secure access from an owner of private property to construct the pipeline and cross-border facilities described in subsection (a).
That is it. It is that simple. It is that simple.
So our President has been deliberating on this now for 6 years, and that is the decision. Are we going to produce energy in this country, are we going to work with Canada to get our energy, are we going to create jobs, are we going to generate economic activity or are we going to continue to rely on oil from the Middle East?
It is not as though there is no precedent to do it. Look at this chart. The red line is the Keystone Pipeline. I don't know how many people realize it, but we have already built the Keystone Pipeline--not the Keystone XL Pipeline for which we are seeking approval but the Keystone Pipeline. The project under consideration is a sister project to one that has already been built. It brings oil from Canada into the United States. That is the Keystone project. It has been permitted and built. It is in operation now.
The Keystone XL Pipeline, the sister project, brings oil from Canada into the United States; then North Dakota and Montana put light sweet Bakken and crude oil in it as well, and that oil goes to our refineries. Does it seem like a complicated decision, a difficult decision? Does it seem like something that requires 6 years of study?
The point is this body can approve it. That is what this is all about. We have 56 Senators--56 Senators, Republicans and Democrats--saying: Give us a vote. Give us a vote. Let this Senate do its job. Let's approve this project. It is a very straightforward decision.
Is this decision going to be made for special interest groups? Is this decision going to be blocked? Are we not going to get a vote because special interest groups are opposed to something the American people want? In the most recent poll, 70 percent of Americans want it built. What does it take?
One of the arguments I heard is: It is a pipeline. It has to be studied for 6
years because it is so complicated and difficult.
There are the pipelines we have in this country. We have millions of miles of pipeline, but it is so difficult to figure out whether we should build one more that produces energy and jobs for our country? A lot of these pipelines are old and we have millions of miles of pipelines all over this country. We can't decide whether we should build one more that is state-of-the-art?
What are we saying to our friends and neighbors in Canada? They very much want this project. They feel they have dealt with our country in good faith. What are we saying to Canada?
Some might say, if the pipeline isn't built, then that energy will not be produced from the oil sands area in Canada.
Really? Is that right? Then what is this pipeline moving? Oil from the oil sands in Canada. What is moving on our railroads all over this country?
If we don't build this pipeline, that oil is either going to China--and then we end up continuing to get our oil from the Middle East--or it is going to move by rail. If it moves by rail, that is 1,400 tanker cars a day on our railroads, 14-unit trains of 100 cars a day on our railroads. Does that seem like a better way to move it than a state-of-the-art pipeline? That is the decision.
I could put the decision in front of anybody in this country and I don't think it would take them 6 years to decide and I don't think it should take our President not only 6 years to decide, but now he said indefinitely--an indefinite delay.
It is time to vote on this important issue. I wish to thank the Senators who have stepped up and supported this legislation--certainly Senator Landrieu, who will be down here to talk about it in a minute, and Senator Heitkamp, my fellow Senator in North Dakota, and many others on both sides of the aisle, Republicans and Democrats.
It is not a partisan issue. It is an issue of whether we are going to make this decision for the people of this country and build an energy future for this country--energy security for this country--where we produce more energy in North America between the United States and Canada than we consume so we don't have to rely on energy from the Middle East or from Venezuela or other countries that may not share our beliefs, our views, and our interests. That is the decision or is this going to be a decision for special interest groups?
If the President refuses to make that decision, we in this body have a responsibility to do it, and we put forward a bill to approve it.
Again, I thank my colleagues for their hard work on this bill, and I ask others to join us. Let's make this decision, and let's make it for the American people.
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