Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., gave this week’s Republican address, highlighting the importance of the Keystone XL pipeline and the economic boost he says it would provide to America.
Hoeven was Tuesday’s KVML “Newsmaker of the Day”. Here are his words:
“Hi, I’m Senator John Hoeven from North Dakota and I’d like to talk to you about why I believe we should pass legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline – and why making it the first bill we take up in the new Congress is important.
I want to start, however, with some good news we got yesterday from Nebraska. The Nebraska Supreme Court has decided that their state has properly determined the route of the Keystone KL pipeline.
Now, only the federal government is holding it up, and that’s unfortunate because the Keystone XL pipeline is all about energy, jobs, economic growth, and national security.
Along with roads, rail, and transmission lines, pipelines like the Keystone XL are part of a comprehensive national energy plan. The pipeline will carry 830,000 barrels of oil a day, including 100,000 barrels of domestic oil from North Dakota and Montana.
Working with one of our closest friends and allies, Canada, we can achieve true North American energy security at home, and at the same time help our allies abroad, which makes our people more secure both here and overseas.
The oil and gas we are producing in North America is already changing the global geo-political dynamic, weakening petro-dependent states like Russia, Iran, and Venezuela and strengthening America.
Domestic energy production is also good news for American families and small businesses because increased supply is reducing the price of gas at the pump and putting more money in their pockets.
Lower prices at the pump, down by more than 60 cents a gallon from a year ago, will have the equivalent effect of cutting taxes in the U.S. by between $100 billion and $125 billion, according to economists.
That is a tremendous boon to the American economy because energy is a foundational industry. Virtually every other industry sector depends on it and does better when energy prices are lower.
The benefits of lower energy prices flow across the economic spectrum, but they especially help middle and low income households because those households spend a larger share of their budget on energy.
In 2013, energy accounted for 27 percent of after-tax household income for families making less than $30,000, but only 9 percent for households making $50,000 or more.
But make no mistake: gasoline prices aren’t lower now because OPEC decided to give us a Christmas present this year.
They’re lower because of the oil and gas renaissance in places like the Bakken in North Dakota and Montana, the Eagle Ford in Texas, and oil produced by our friend and ally, Canada, as well.
For us to continue to produce more energy and retain all of these benefits, we need more pipelines to move crude at the lowest cost and in the safest and most environmentally friendly way.
The State Department’s environmental reviews of the project have consistently found that the Keystone XL pipeline will have no significant impact on the environment. Let me repeat that: No significant environmental impact.
In fact, the review says that if we don’t build the pipeline, Canadian oil will still find its way to market by rail, requiring 1,400 tanker cars every day on our railroads to move the same volume of oil.
A lack of pipeline capacity is already causing congestion on the tracks, which is delaying shipments of agriculture goods and other commodities.
Clearly, the Keystone XL pipeline is in the national interest of our country. It will support more than 42,000 jobs, boost our economy by $3.4 billion, and help reduce our reliance on Middle Eastern oil.
For all of these reasons, the Keystone XL pipeline – and others like it, make sense.
But there’s another reason we’ve made it the first bill we take up in the Senate.
It’s important not only because it’s vital energy infrastructure legislation, but also because it has bipartisan support in Congress, the over-whelming support of the American people, and it represents a real opportunity to break through the grid-lock in the Senate by returning to what’s called ‘regular order’.
Regular order, which our new Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is reestablishing, means allowing an open amendment process and real debate on important issues for the country.
In other words, senators will have an opportunity to advance their ideas, have them debated in an open, transparent way, and then get a vote.
Measures will need 60 votes, which neither party has, meaning legislation will have to be bipartisan, and have bipartisan support to pass.
That’s healthy. That’s how the Senate has historically done business. That’s how the American people want it to work. They want Congress to work in a bipartisan way to get things done for the good of our country.
Yet after a delay of more than six years, this past week the President threatened to veto the Keystone XL approval bill, even before he’s seen the final product.
So I’d like to close with a question: If the President isn’t willing to get on board with the Keystone XL pipeline – which nearly 70 percent of the American people support, all the states along the route have approved and a bipartisan majority of Congress has passed – what will it take for him to work with us to get something done?
Mr. President, it’s time to work with Congress on this and other important issues for the American people.”
The “Newsmaker of the Day” is heard every weekday morning on AM 1450 KVML at 6:45, 7:45 and 8:45 AM.