Senator Calls for Republicans to Commit to Open Amendment Process


WASHINGTON (January 26, 2015) - Despite promising an “open process” as they began this new Congress in the majority, Senate Republicans last week denied Senator Markey’s request, along with the request of four other Senate Democrats, to speak on his amendment to the Keystone XL export pipeline legislation.


Today, Senator Markey is once again calling on Senate Republicans to vote on his amendments. One would end the tax free ride for dirty tar sands oil that will be shipped through the U.S. and exported, leaving taxpayers on the hook to pay for oil spill clean-up. Last week, instead of holding a majority up-or-down vote, Senate Republicans used a procedural move to “table” Senator Markey’s no-exports amendment, a step that stops debate on the amendment and prevents a straight up-or-down vote. Republicans voted to table the Markey amendment in a vote of 57-42. 


“Even after Senate Republicans blocked me from speaking on the Senate floor, I refuse to pipe down about Senate Republicans and the oil industry’s Keystone XL pipeline pipe dream. We need an up-or-down vote on my amendments that put Senators on the record about whether they favor the interests of the oil industry over those of consumers, businesses, our climate, and our national security. Senate Republicans should not be allowed to shut down this important national debate.


“My amendment today will end the tax-free ride for the dirty and dangerous tar sands oil that will leave taxpayers on the hook to pay for oil spill clean-up. It’s unfortunate that Senate Republicans have decided to hand the oil industry a get out of Canada free card instead of providing protection to taxpayers and our environment.”


In May 2011, the Internal Revenue Service issued a ruling that tar sands oil was not crude oil or petroleum product and therefore oil companies importing it are not subject to the same tax imposed on the oil industry that funds the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.


The Keystone XL pipeline is set to be a major export conduit for North American oil, contrary to the claims that the oil industry has made that it will benefit energy security interests for America. The Keystone XL pipeline would terminate in Port Arthur, Texas, which is a foreign trade zone, allowing for the re-export of the Canadian tar sands oil without paying taxes. At a hearing in the Energy and Commerce Committee, then-Rep. Markey pressed an official from TransCanada, the developer of the pipeline, to guarantee that oil from the pipeline would stay in the United States. The official would not agree to those conditions.



Tonight, in the guise of an open process, Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell denied my request to speak on my amendment to end the tax free ride for dirty tar sands oil that will be shipped through the U.S. & exported, leaving taxpayers on the hook to pay for oil spill clean up. And then Republicans voted to continue giving this free ride for tar sands oil. #KeystoneXL

Posted by Senator Edward J. Markey on Thursday, January 22, 2015