‘The President is saying “no” to the Keystone XL pipeline, he’s saying “no” to a project that will bring more than 700,000 barrels of oil a day from our friend and ally, Canada, and he’s virtually assuring continued reliance on the Middle East… It’s hard to imagine a project that is more in the national interest and the interest of the American people.’
Full transcript of Senator Hoeven’s Address:
“Earlier this year, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a study identifying 351 energy projects that are stalled nationwide because of over-regulation and a bureaucratic permitting process.
“According to the Chamber, those delays are costing the American economy $1.1 trillion in lost economic impact. More importantly, they’re costing us nearly two million jobs every year.
“Yet with nearly 14 million Americans still out of work, and unemployment at over 8 percent for nearly three years, the President continues to believe that higher taxes and more government regulation is the right approach.
“I’m Senator John Hoeven from North Dakota, and I want to talk to you about the Keystone XL pipeline, a case in point that illustrates just what I mean.
“This new $7 billion, 1,700-mile, high-tech transcontinental pipeline, the largest shovel-ready project in the country, would reduce our dependence on Middle East oil, help keep down the cost of energy for American consumers and businesses, and create thousands of jobs for American workers at a time when our nation so greatly needs them.
“Before I came to the U.S. Senate, I was governor of North Dakota for a decade.
“Back home, we grew our economy, raised incomes, and kept unemployment below 4 percent—the lowest rate in the country. Today, it’s still the lowest rate in the nation.
“We created thousands of jobs for North Dakotans—good sustainable employment that provides meaningful work and a paycheck to support families.
“We didn’t do it with temporary stimulus measures, but by empowering the private sector—by building the kind of legal, tax and regulatory climate that encourages private investment and spurs economic growth.
“So why is the President and his Administration doing just the opposite? Why is he taking a course of action that puts bureaucratic barriers in the way of economic growth and jobs? Let’s frame that question in terms that matter to every American.
“A week ago, newspapers across the country ran a story warning consumers that gasoline could rise to more than $4.00 a gallon this year.
“In the same week, we saw world markets react nervously to the standoff between the U.S. and Iran in the Strait of Hormuz—through which one-third of the world’s seaborne oil is now shipped.
“Combine all of this with growing global demand for oil, especially in China, and we have a recipe for dramatically higher energy prices and more personal hardship for working Americans.
“What will consumers say when gasoline returns to $4.00 a gallon?
“What will they say when the cost of services and consumer goods rise because the cost of energy is driving up prices?
“Yet the President is saying ‘no’ to the Keystone XL pipeline, he’s saying ‘no’ to a project that will bring more than 700,000 barrels of oil a day from our friend and ally, Canada, and he’s virtually assuring continued reliance on the Middle East. That makes no sense, and it’s a matter of great concern for our national security, particularly with what’s going on in Iran.
“Last month the U.S. Senate passed a payroll tax cut measure that includes an important provision that I, along with Senator Richard Lugar, introduced to clear the way for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
“This pipeline will carry oil not only from Alberta, Canada, but also 100,000 barrels a day from the U.S. Bakken region in Montana and my home state of North Dakota.
“Our legislation accomplishes three crucial things. First, it makes sure the decision to permit the project can be reached within 60 days, it addresses routing concerns by the state of Nebraska, and then it ensures that the pipeline permit includes strong and specific environmental protections.
“It’s hard to imagine a project that is more in the national interest and the interest of the American people.
“Yet our bill had not even passed when the U.S. State Department said it would not allow ‘sufficient time’ to evaluate the project.
“Nothing could be further from the truth. Let’s be clear. Our bill requires a decision by the President on whether the project is in the national interest within 60 days, but it puts no time limit whatsoever on the Administration’s ability to review and set the pipeline’s route through Nebraska, which was the only area of contention left.
“In fact, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told me in a July letter that the department expected to announce its decision by the ‘end of the year,’ and accordingly, in August, the State Department issued the results of its final environmental review.
“The point is this: If the Keystone XL pipeline isn’t built, Canadian oil will still be produced and transported—700,000 barrels a day of it—but instead of coming to our refineries in the United States, instead of creating jobs for our people, instead of reducing our dependence on Middle Eastern oil and keeping down the cost of fuel for American consumers—that oil will be sent to China.
“A number of year-end stories recently made much of the fact that the Keystone XL pipeline project isn’t on the President’s agenda before next year’s election, which is unfortunate, because it is private-sector projects like Keystone XL—and the hundreds of others cited by the U.S. Chamber study—that will get our nation working again.
“I have worked towards approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, first as governor of North Dakota, and now with my colleagues as a U.S. Senator, because it is just the kind of project that will grow our economy and create more jobs.
“And that’s the larger point here. We must empower private investment and create sustainable jobs through private enterprise to lift up our country.
“The President and his Administration need to join us in creating the kind of legal, tax, and regulatory environment that empowers private investment. That’s the approach that will grow our economy and get people back to work. That’s the approach that will reduce our deficit and debt, and strengthen our nation.
“That’s the approach that will ensure a brighter future for our children.
“Thank you and God bless.”