WASHINGTON (February 3, 2012) – Today, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and other House Democrats called the bluff of Keystone XL pipeline supporters by introducing a bill that would ensure that the oil and refined fuel from the Canadian conduit is actually sold in the United States. The bill comes as Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee make a push to force the approval of the pipeline, despite concerns about the pollution, price and the ultimate destination of the Canadian crude.
Rep. Markey was joined on the bill by Reps. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), and Peter Welch (D-Vt.).
Rep. Markey’s bill addresses head-on the claims by Keystone supporters, who have asserted that the project is in the national security interests of the United States, and will reduce U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern oil. The reality is that TransCanada, the company behind the pipeline, has entered into long-term contracts with refineries to export the fuel to Latin America, Europe and other markets.
A copy of the legislation can be found HERE.
Under questioning by Rep. Ed Markey at an Energy and Commerce hearing on December 2, 2011, the CEO of TransCanada, the company proposing the pipeline, confirmed this plan, saying he could not guarantee that the fuel from the pipeline would stay in the United States. Rep. Markey’s bill would require that, if the pipeline is approved, the oil and refined fuels stay in the United States, not exported to foreign markets.
“You can’t sneak a 1,700 mile pipeline past the American people, and you shouldn’t be able to sneak the oil out of the United States either,” said Rep. Markey, who is the top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee and a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. “Other countries shouldn’t be allowed to bisect our country with a pipeline and then bypass our citizens to send the oil abroad.”
The proposed Keystone XL pipeline extension would reach Port Arthur, Texas, which is designated as a foreign trade zone – this means that if these refineries re-exported diesel or other fuel, they also would not have to pay taxes on those exports. Internal analysis done by TransCanada has also shown that moving the end point of the current Keystone pipeline from the Midwest to Texas would increase gasoline prices for Midwest U.S. consumers.
The legislation would allow for waivers of the requirement that the oil and refined fuels be sold in the United States only if the President certifies that selling them to other countries would not result in higher domestic consumption of oil or fuels from countries that are hostile to America’s interests or from countries that are politically or economically unstable, and that doing so won’t lead to higher costs for refiners or American consumers. It would also allow for waivers when the exports are necessary under the Constitution, international agreements or other laws.
“American taxpayers are assuming all of the risk for this pipeline, and TransCanada and other nations are getting the rewards. At the very least, we should have it written in stone that Keystone oil will stay here in the United States and give American consumers some of the benefits, and not just all of the costs,” said Rep. Markey.
Rep. Markey also led a group of 36 House Democrats who wrote the State Department in October of last year saying that the expected re-exportation of the Canadian oil would not enhance U.S. energy security.
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