Northen Route Approval

Floor Speech

Date: May 22, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

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Mrs. CAPPS. I rise in strong opposition to H.R. 3. The Keystone proposal itself is a bad idea. This bill simply makes it worse.

It's no secret that we are dependent on oil and other fossil fuels for our energy needs. But it's also no secret that this dependence is polluting our planet, harming public health, and threatening our national security. But rather than reduce this dependence, H.R. 3 and the Keystone pipeline just make this problem worse.

We have the greatest innovators and entrepreneurs in the world and they're eager to build a sustainable energy future, but they can't do it on their own. Instead of doubling down on fossil fuels, we should be encouraging development of clean, renewable energy resources and technologies. These investments protect our planet for future generations and they improve the health of our friends and our family. And they create permanent, local jobs that can't be shipped overseas.

Finally, there's no denying that construction of this pipeline would create jobs, but they're mostly temporary jobs. And while we're facing estimated job losses of 750,000 due simply to sequestration, creating a few thousand temporary jobs, though helpful, does not constitute the comprehensive jobs legislation our Nation really needs. This Congress needs to take steps to move to a clean energy economy and create millions of permanent jobs right here in the USA that cannot be shipped overseas.

Mr. Chairman, H.R. 3 is a giant step in the wrong direction on both counts. I urge my colleagues to vote ``no.''

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Mrs. CAPPS. I thank my colleague for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, whether it's drilled on land, offshore, or transported via pipeline, oil spills are inevitable. Spills happen, and they will continue to happen, regardless of what we've been told by the oil companies building and maintaining the pipelines.

TransCanada says it will implement lots of safety measures, but accidents happen. In fact, accidents have already happened 14 times on the existing TransCanada Keystone pipeline. And they will almost certainly happen on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, too. Our amendment simply ensures that those responsible for the spill pay to clean it up.

In 1969, my home district was victim to one of the worst oil spills in U.S. history. I know firsthand the devastating damage to human health, property, and natural resources that are caused by oil spills. I know there have been numerous assurances that Keystone XL will be safer and spill risks will be minimal, but safer simply does not equal safe, especially when transporting tar sands crude. Tar sands crude is not only more corrosive and dangerous than conventional crude, but it's far more difficult to clean up in the event of a spill.

We need look no further than the tar sands spill in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 2010. Nearly 3 years after that spill, the cleanup is still ongoing and the costs are approaching $1 billion. A spill from Keystone could have similarly devastating impacts in America's heartland. If we're going to bear 100 percent of the spill risk as Americans, the least we can do is ensure those responsible pay to clean it up. That's all this amendment does. And I think there's broad agreement on this point.

This is our opportunity to fix the problem right now. If the Keystone XL pipeline is approved as is, the tar sands crude oil will literally get a free ride through the United States. Our amendment ends this.

I urge my colleagues to end the free ride and vote for this amendment.

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