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Public Statements

Energy, Security, American Jobs, and the Keystone XL Pipe Line

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CARTER. I thank the gentleman from Nebraska for yielding and for all of your hard work on this issue.

This is an issue that is important to the United States of America. It's just that simple--that you don't have this kind of an opportunity in the economic environment that we have in this country very often. We have a country that has seen the worst unemployment, rampant unemployment and has had the most number of quarters with bad unemployment figures since the Great Depression. And here we have our Canadian neighbors to the north with this Keystone XL pipeline that is proposed to stretch 1,700 miles, cost $7 billion to construct over a 2-year period, and create 100,000 or more jobs for America. And this is paid for. This is other people's money. We're not asking the Federal Government to spend more stimulus money on this energy project, as it did on the famous Solyndra project in California. We're asking it just to approve this pipeline.

Now the reason I'm here to talk is because starting at age 16 until I graduated from law school, every summer of my life, I worked on pipelines. I was not the engineer. I was the guy with the shovel. I dug the ditches, and I cut the grass and operated the survey crew, and I gauged the gauges. And I did all of the various things that need to get done. I have done them in the State of Texas, in the State of Louisiana, and I was actually on a pipeline that stretched from northern Holland to Belgium in Europe. I worked there one summer. So I personally know the pipeline business from the bottom end. These are great jobs. Even the guy that wields the shovel has a great job, a great-paying job. That's why I did these jobs, to help pay my way through school. I found them to be very professional organizations, and I worked for five different companies. So I am known as, as they say, an old pipeliner.

This project is a no-brainer. We created an Energy Department in this country during the Carter administration, I believe--and I could be corrected on that. Its purpose was to wean us off of Middle Eastern oil. Now our neighbors, our first cousins up in Canada, have found oil up there. They want to have us do the refining process for them. They have laid their part of the pipeline and the infrastructure in the north. And they're major participants in this pipeline coming south, to bring this crude down to the southern major refinery area in this country so that it can be refined into products that we use every day, products that we depend on every day.

An estimated 100,000 jobs will be created by this pipeline. And you know, I'm not even sure they know how to estimate pipeline jobs because there is so much more that the American public wouldn't understand about the construction of a pipeline. There are going to be roads built. There are going to be fences built. Things that you never would even relate to the pipeline business are required to get the labor and the materials to the various locations on the construction of this pipeline. So every State this passes through in this country is going to be a State where they are going to benefit from good-paying jobs.

These people that argue these are temporary jobs--this is a 2-year project, and these are the kinds of jobs that American folks, they pray for. These are the ones that the unemployed people of this country are on their knees every night asking to come to their town so they can have a good-paying job, a job that will support their family. And out of these construction projects can come other things that are related to the maintenance of the pipeline.

This is a plus-plus-plus opportunity for American workers. Here we are at a time when the number one issue in the United States is putting Americans back to work. We have all this peripheral stuff. But it all comes back to that we don't get our country back on track until we put Americans back to work. And quite honestly, the attempts we've made in the past have not been very successful. This is a guaranteed successful job-creating project. We have track records to prove it. You can look back on the history of pipelines, and these construction programs have always been part of prosperity wherever they go.

Now this is not a labor versus management issue. Five major labor unions have endorsed this project and have signed project labor agreements with the TransCanada Corporation. Over 20,000 construction jobs will directly be created to install the line. On top of that labor required to put this in the ground, tens of thousands of more jobs will be created as refineries expand both in Texas and in Louisiana to refine this. And out of the whole project, the estimate is clear that it is going to be 100,000 jobs or more.

Now where's the downside? Environmental issues are being raised. And in talks about going through the great State of Nebraska--Mr. Terry's State--some people are opposing it for environmental reasons. But if you pulled out a map of the pipelines going east and west in this country, I haven't counted them, but I would say almost half of them pass through the State of Nebraska. They've been there for years, and they have never been an environmental problem to the State of Nebraska.

If you look at the pipeline map of the State of Texas and Louisiana, it looks like a spider web of pipelines. You never hear of major pipeline disasters in our States. Pipelines are the safest and most economical way of transporting petroleum and other products.

With unemployment just recently dropping below 9 percent for the first time in a long time--not much below, and we will probably go back above 9 percent as soon as the temporary holiday employment is over--when we are sitting here with above 9 percent unemployment, why in the world wouldn't we want to join with our neighbors, our friends and those people who have been our friends forever, the Canadians, take the resource that they are properly capturing in their part of the world and are willing to share with us down here, to refine the products and build this pipeline and build prosperity right down the middle of the country. Where's the downside?

Mr. Speaker, I join my friend Lee Terry of Nebraska in supporting the Keystone XL pipeline. It is a plus for America, and more importantly, it's a plus for the working men and women of this country. And it's another step towards energy independence in North America.


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