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Mr. WALZ. I thank the ranking member for the time. I also thank him for his longtime commitment to American energy independence.
I, too, share that. I have been the supporter of a bipartisan energy bill that brought environmental groups and The Heritage Foundation together and said maybe we can find some solutions to this. I have been a supporter of this project from the beginning. The problem is, today, this bill has nothing to do with that. It has to do with politics. Today is an example of why this body is less popular than hepatitis amongst the American public. It's not only not going to do anything; it's going to set us back.
Many of us want this project done, but I have to tell you that the worst thing we can do is build this and have a problem with it. We hear about the number of pages of regulations that are there. Maybe we needed a couple more with BP, and we wouldn't have been cleaning up after that mess. You don't have to choose between building it and compromising safety. You do it right if we're going to do it. Unfortunately, that's not what we're doing. You deem it, and you give away those rights.
It's personal for me. I grew up in the Nebraska Sandhills. It was the good people of Nebraska and the Republican Governor who told us to step back, to slow down, and to pick a different route--and finished it in January of this year. So when you hear about all of the process, process gets it right. I have to tell you--and I do agree with my colleague on this--that there are jobs to be created here. We send $1 billion a day for oil to countries that hate us. They'll hate us for free. Keep it here. We don't have to do this. There have also been delays in this project. This bill is a bridge way too far.
Be honest with the people--this is not by building it is going to lower gas prices. It's not the long-term solution to our energy needs. There is no guarantee we'll even get the oil in this country. But we can come together, build a piece of it, and expand our portfolio.
We shouldn't be muddying it up with wedge issues. The last time we had this vote, I voted with it all these times; but one time the political arm of my friends sent a notice out to my hometown newspapers asking why Tim Walz wants to raise your gas prices and isn't with America. They forgot and got it wrong. I voted with them. That press release today is already written, and they're sending it back. It's not going to do anything except to hurt the American people's faith in our democracy. You're not going to get cheaper gas prices. You're not going to have this thing built overnight; you risk danger.
The American people aren't stupid. Don't treat them that way.
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