Washington, Nov. 15 -
Mr. Speaker, the folks I represent down in southeast Texas are concerned about many things; but two things they are concerned about probably the most are jobs and energy, because, you see, in southeast Texas, that's still the energy capital of the United States. I probably represent more refineries than any Member of Congress.
There is an answer to jobs and energy, and it's called the Trans-Canada pipeline, commonly called the Keystone XL pipeline.
The plan is for our allies in Canada to ship crude oil from Alberta, Canada, through a pipeline all the way from Alberta, Canada, down to Port Arthur, Texas. Most Americans have never heard of Port Arthur, Texas, but it sits on the gulf coast, really close to the Louisiana-Texas border. It is part of that energy development going all the way back to Spindletop days in 1901--the energy capital of the world. The plan has been, for several years, to ship that crude oil down to American refineries and have them refine.
That decision, or that request to get a permit, started about 3 years ago, and no decision has been reached yet on whether to build it or not to build it. The latest development is that the administration has decided: Still, we'll not make a decision until 2013, after the elections.
That's unfortunate because these are times when we need American jobs, and this pipeline would create American jobs in America--thousands of American jobs--and then there is related industry all up and down the area where the pipeline will be built to Port Arthur, Texas. Then it will give us crude oil, energy that we can use from a stable ally. Instead of having to ship oil in from all over the world--from the Middle East primarily--we will have a stable ally where we can bring crude oil into the United States.
About how much oil are we talking about?
Well, it's about 700,000 barrels a day. That's just a number--most people can't relate to that. I really can't--but that's about as much crude oil as we buy from Venezuela and bring into the United States. When the pipeline is fully completed, it will be 1,200,000 barrels a day. Now, that's a real number. How much is that? That's about as much oil as we bring in from Saudi Arabia; yet we could bring that in from Canada to our refineries in southeast Texas.
Pipelines are the safest way to move crude oil--the safest way, Mr. Speaker. It's safer than rail; it's certainly safer than trucks; it's safer than bringing it in on ships from overseas; and it's safer than barges, because pipelines have a history of being the most environmentally safe, as they should be safe. In fact, the new pipelines that are developed are taking newer technology. They put a machine in the pipeline--it's called a pig machine--which goes through the pipeline with the crude oil and looks for dense or even small leaks which would automatically shut the pipeline down. Nobody wants a leak in a pipeline--the people who build it or the people who live in that area--but the administration has decided, primarily the State Department has decided, not to make a decision until 2013.
The Prime Minister of Canada is very disappointed that the United States will not be a partner in this crude oil development. But there is a country that will take that Canadian crude oil, and it's China. So we may not see the pipeline built from Alberta to Port Arthur, Texas; but we may see that pipeline built from Alberta to their west coast where they could pipe that crude oil off to their west coast and sell it and put it on tankers going to our buddies, the Chinese, who are eager to take that crude oil.
Recently, however, there was a development that the pipeline folks, the TransCanada people who want to build a pipeline, have started to work with the legislature in Nebraska. Nebraska is primarily the holdup where the environmentalists have gone and said they can't build a pipeline here for a bunch of reasons. The new plan is to build that pipeline to the east, the northeast of Nebraska. Hopefully they will work out something. Unfortunately, the State Department said last night or this morning, Well, nothing has changed. So it seems like delay, delay, delay is still the answer.
We need to get crude oil to our refineries someway. What is the answer? What is the answer for those who say that they don't want a pipeline? There is no answer. And until we get to that green energy that we all want to get to eventually, we have to get that crude oil and have it refined not only into gasoline and jet fuel but into the byproducts, plastics that we all use. And the answer, Mr. Speaker, I think is, we need to pick a horse and ride it, sign up, and build that pipeline immediately.
And that's just the way it is.