Thursday, September 19, 2013

House Hearing On Keystone XL "Red Tape"

Sep 19: The House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, Chaired by Representative Lee Terry (R-NE), held a hearing on entitled "Keystone's Red Tape Anniversary: Five Years of Bureaucratic Delay and Economic Benefits Denied." Witnesses included: Reps. Steve Daines (R-MT); Ted Poe (R-TX); Rush Holt (D-NJ); Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) and representatives from Welspun Tubular LLC; U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Institute for 21st Century Energy; Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce; Laborers Local 1140; Energy Policy Research Foundation; Bold Nebraska; and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) International Program.
    Full Committee chairman, Fred Upton (R-MI) said in an opening statement, "TransCanada first submitted its application to build the Keystone XL pipeline to U.S. the State Department exactly five years ago today. In the fall of 2010, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated that the department was "inclined" to approve the project. In 2011, in opposing our initial Keystone bill, the White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy, stating that the bill expediting the pipeline was unnecessary because the State Department was "committed to reaching a decision" before the end of that year. But here we are today, five years after the application was filed, and we still don't have approval. . .
    "Despite the added safety controls, exhaustive studies, and 15,500 pages of State Department analysis, thousands of jobs are still being held hostage to an ever-moving goal line. Our friend and ally Canada is pursuing other options, now considering building a new trans-Canadian pipeline to their eastern seaboard for refining and export. The Keystone pipeline is an important component of our architecture of abundance that is necessary to achieve energy self-sufficiency. In January of 2012, the president resolved to 'do whatever it takes' to create jobs, but here we still are today. It is time for the president to join the broad coalition of job creators, labor unions, Republicans, and Democrats alike, and say 'yes' to this jobs and energy project."
    Ranking Member Henry Waxman (D-CA) countered saying, "I oppose this tar sands pipeline because it locks us into decades of higher carbon pollution. It is a big step in the wrong direction on climate change, and that's something we simply cannot afford to do. Yesterday, the Energy and Power Subcommittee of this Committee held its first hearing in years on climate change. . . Yesterday, I posed one question to those who oppose the President's action on climate change: what's your plan? Don't just say no – propose an alternative. We heard nothing. Instead of doing something to address climate change, today we're holding the eleventh hearing since 2011 to push one favored project that would make climate change worse. This single tar sands pipeline would increase America's carbon pollution equivalent to building seven new coal-fired power plants. . .
    Today's hearing is misplaced for another reason. For months we have required the government to work under sequestration, with its ill-conceived and indiscriminate cuts. There are eleven days left before the federal government will shut down, and about 30 days until our country hits its debt ceiling. We should be dealing with these pressing issues, not a tar sands pipeline that will create only a handful of jobs. . . If our goal is creating jobs, Keystone XL is not the answer. Instead, we should be working to ensure broad opportunity for the middle class. We should be fixing America's crumbling roads and bridges. And we should be investing in the clean energy technologies of the future. . ."
    The U.S. Chamber testified, "The failure of the federal government after five years to grant a construction permit for the Keystone XL pipeline exemplifies perhaps better than anything the challenges of building energy infrastructure in the United States. This failure has not only denied Americans the benefits of the economic shot in the arm this project would provide, it also has tarnished America's image as a "can do" country open to investment, a failure that can be difficult to shake from investors' minds. . . Unfortunately, our energy sector suffers from a lengthy, unpredictable, and needlessly complex regulatory maze that delays, and often halts, the construction of new energy infrastructure. Federal and state siting and permitting reviews and rules are used routinely to block the construction and expansion of needed energy infrastructure. . ."
    NRDC testified, "The Keystone XL tar sands project would pipe some of the dirtiest oil on the planet through the breadbasket of America to be shipped overseas through the Gulf of Mexico. Financial analysts, industry commentators, and the environmental community agree that Keystone XL is a lynchpin for tar sands expansion and the significant carbon pollution associated with it. TransCanada's reapplied for a Presidential Permit to build the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline in May 4th, 2012 after its first permit application was rejected. Since the original application, the federal review of Keystone XL has revealed significant major risks associated with the proposed tar sands project and shown that the project's benefits have been overstated. Significant new information that has been uncovered since Keystone XL was proposed. . ."   
    Access the Republican hearing website for background, statements, testimony and video (click here). Access the Democrats hearing website for background, statements, testimony and video (click here). [#Energy/KXL, #Climate]

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