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Public Statements

Northern Route Approval Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WEBER of Texas. Mr. Chairman, thank you for recognizing me to speak in favor of my amendment on this very important legislation.

I want to thank Mr. Terry for leading on an issue that is crucial to our economic recovery and our energy future. Rather than wait around for further delays--1,700 days and counting--and excuses from the President, Mr. Terry has taken action to deliver the jobs and energy security that this administration so frequently promises to the American people.

Last week marked 1,700 days, that's 4.65 years, since the first permit application was filed for Keystone. Let me put that in perspective. I have a granddaughter who will be 2 years old in July. Had she been born when this permit was filed, she would be entering kindergarten this coming fall. Her name is Kate Liberty, by the way. She's the cutest thing this side of the Atlantic.

During that time, the State Department has produced, as the whip said, over 15,000 pages of environmental impact assessment, which have been endlessly discussed, debated, and deconstructed. Hundreds of thousands of public comments were made on these documents, and public meetings were held across the country in multiple States.

However, in 2012, President Obama rejected the first permit application for the Keystone XL pipeline, claiming that the deadline which required him to make a decision prevented a ``full assessment'' of the pipeline's impact. I would conclude, and I'm sure most of you would agree, that the State Department study of Keystone XL has gone far above and beyond the threshold required of a ``full assessment.'' In fact, this unprecedented degree of scrutiny has led many to conclude that the Keystone XL is the most studied pipeline in our Nation's history.

Despite this exhaustive environmental review, the administration has yet to make a decision on a project that will create American jobs, stimulate the economy, and enhance our energy security. In the meantime, opponents of the project continue to rely on false assumptions and misconceptions to urge its rejection.

My amendment simply sets the record straight on these accounts by adding findings from our own State Department that attest to the safety and environmental soundness of this project.

There are those who oppose the project who say it hasn't been studied enough--that's laughable. That we are proceeding hastily--4 1/2 years and 15,000 pages prove otherwise. Others allege that the pipeline is a safety risk. The State Department findings prove these allegations unfounded. In fact, the State Department concluded that it has 57 extra safety features, and with that, the Keystone XL would have a degree of safety over any other domestic pipeline.

There are those who try to argue that the pipeline would threaten water resources, wildlife, and the communities along the route. However, the State Department disagrees, concluding there would be ``no significant impacts'' to resources along the proposed route.

Some insist that the pipeline will lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions and that halting the project will somehow combat global warming or reduce carbon emissions. However, the State Department's estimates of incremental emissions associated with the project are marginal, and they would have negligible impact on climate change, if any. Moreover, the State Department concluded that Canadian oil sands production will continue regardless of whether or not we build the Keystone. A global oil market and the statements of Canadian officials reinforce this reality.

The science supports approval of Keystone XL, and I agree. Given the facts, I see no reason the administration should make the American people wait any longer for a project whose construction will support up to 40,000 jobs and generate $2 billion in earnings.


Mr. WEBER of Texas. Well, I appreciate the gentleman from California's comments. It's interesting that we are going to belie the State Department's assessment when it's not advantageous to the argument, but we're going to try to rely on it when it's advantageous.

It's admirable that he's concerned about the cost per barrel of bitumen. I own a small business and, by golly, the oil companies that produce jobs and wealth for this company will decide on whether it's too costly.

The previous gentleman from New Jersey said there was no proof that even the oil would stay here in this country. Well, I submit this to you, Mr. Chairman, and esteemed Members. To what company do we say, We don't want you exporting your products? Do you tell Nike that? Do you tell Ford that? Who do you tell that?

And then to his statement that it's going to increase greenhouse gases, the experts have done the math, and they've come up with, if at all, it raises 1/100,000th of a degree Fahrenheit in global warming.

And finally, we heard testimony from the experts in our hearing, saves 400 to 500 trucks a day off the highway.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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