The Keystone Pipeline project transports oil from Canada to refineries in Illinois and Texas via eight states. A proposed shortcut, Keystone XL, would utilize Montana instead of North Dakota, and increase capacity.
The pipeline itself was completed in 2014, while Congress passed the XL expansion in early 2015. President Barack Obama vetoed Keystone XL because the path cut through a crucial swath of ecologically sensitive land in Nebraska.
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This naturally has brought responses from politicians on both sides of the issue. Here are 10 quotes from members of Congress:
"Montanans understand how important this project is for our economy and for our energy future. In Eastern Montana, we've seen the tremendous potential for jobs and economic growth that comes from oil production in the Baaken field. In fact, this pipeline will transport up to 100,000 barrels a day of Baaken oil. That is Montana and North Dakota oil ... If the president isn't willing to listen to the voice of the people, then the House will. It's time to build the Keystone Pipeline." — U.S. Rep. Steve Daines said in 2014 during the House Floor debate.
"It's not about the pipeline. It's really about tar sands oil. It's carbon that's the issue ... We have a pie chart of the way we produce energy in this world and there are elements of the pie chart that are heavy carbon and elements of the pie chart that are lighter carbon and elements of the pie chart that are small or growing carbon. The right strategy is to make it cleaner today than it was yesterday. To grow the pieces of the pie chart that are not carbon and to take the pieces that are heavy carbon and reduce them in size and carbon intensity progressively over time." — Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, at the March 2014 Senate hearing.
"People say that the Keystone pipeline is a no-brainer. I'm sorry; I guess my brain works differently." — California Senator Barbara Boxer, during the March 2014 Senate hearing.
Boxer cited far-reaching health concerns, which included higher rates of cancer and asthma for those living near the refineries, as a main reason to reject the pipeline.
"When (U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for 21st Century Energy President and CEO Karen Harbert) said 'If you are an environmentalist you are in support of this pipeline,' let me just say that is ludicrous on its face, please don't speak for me, and please don't speak for lots of folks who don't see it that way."
"The president not only vetoed bipartisan legislation today (Feb. 24) to finish building the Keystone pipeline, but he also denied Americans thousands of new, well-paying jobs and the opportunity to progress towards energy independence." — Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, who's also the Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
"The president's veto of the bipartisan Keystone bill represents a victory for partisanship and for powerful special interests. The president's veto of the bipartisan Keystone bill represents a defeat for jobs, infrastructure, and the middle class." — Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, according to The New York Times.
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"Pipelines are by far the safest way to transport petroleum. They are safer than tankers, safer than trucks, safer than rail. Further, 80 percent of all new recovery in Canada's oil sands is being done "in situ," meaning it has essentially the same environmental footprint as conventional drilling. The irony of environmental opposition to the Keystone XL project is that stopping the pipeline to the U.S. will not stop production in the oil sands of Canada. Instead of coming to the United States, the oil will still be produced and shipped by rail or a pipeline similar to the Keystone XL to Canada's Pacific Coast." — North Dakota Senator John Hoeven, a leading sponsor of the Keystone measure, in a self-penned piece for Politico, in 2012.
"The world is looking at us. You've gotta be lowering your greenhouse gas emissions, not increasing." — Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, during the March 2014 Senate Hearings.
"One, climate change is real. Two, climate change is caused by carbon emissions and human activity. Three, climate change has already caused devastating problems in the United States and around the world. And, four, it is imperative the United States transform its energy system away from fossil fuels and toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy." — Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, on Jan. 10, 2015, at a Senate hearing.
"Right now, there are a limited number of customers for Canadian oil. Due to simple geography — and without the pipeline — it's really only cost effective for Canadian oil producers to sell their oil to North American customers, mostly American Midwesterners." — Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, in a blog entry for The Huffington Post, in October 2011.
"The Keystone Pipeline is one common-sense step in the right direction to help put more people back to work, reduce prices at the pump, and position our nation for greater energy security now and in the future." — Missouri Senator Roy Blunt told OzarksFirst.com
, in April 2012.
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