Markey, Sanders, Whitehouse, Blumenauer Introduce Bicameral Legislation to Hold Keystone XL Pipeline Project Accountable to Environment

Senator Markey also introduced separate legislation to ensure Keystone XL pipeline oil should be kept in America for U.S. consumers and businesses

Washington (March 28, 2017) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) was joined today by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), to introduce legislation that would hold the Keystone XL pipeline project and tar sands oil in general accountable to the American people and economy. Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) introduced the companion legislation in the House. The legislation would close a special tax loophole for oil companies that import or produce tar sands oil that allows them to avoid paying into a trust fund for oil spills. Unlike other forms of oil sent through pipelines, tar sands oil is not currently required to pay into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which provides funding in the case of a spill. The largest source of revenue for the fund comes from an eight cent per barrel excise tax on crude oil received at U.S. refineries or on petroleum products imported into the United States. The legislation would ensure that oil companies pay into the trust fund for tar sands oil. Taxpayers stand to lose nearly $2 billion over the next ten years as a result of this tar sands tax loophole, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

“It is time we close the tar sands loophole that allows Big Oil to skirt paying into the spill trust fund that helps protect communities after they are harmed by an oil spill,” said Senator Markey, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee and Chair of the Senate Climate Clearinghouse. “As President Trump is approving the Keystone XL pipeline, we shouldn’t allow tar sands oil to receive a ‘get out of Canada tax free’ card. American taxpayers should not be on the hook if there is a spill from the Keystone pipeline, which would act like a straw running across our country to transport the dirtiest oil to the thirstiest foreign markets. We should not allow our environment and climate to be the victim of the dirtiest oil, while Big Oil reaps profits from sending it overseas to the highest bidder.”

“Tar sands oil is one of the dirtiest fuels on the planet. Proposals to expand its import would lead to over one hundred million metric tons of carbon pollution every year, the primary driver of climate change,” said Senator Whitehouse. “And despite the history of serious spills, it’s exempt from paying into the cleanup fund.  We need to stop subsidizing pollution like tar sand oil.  Otherwise, Rhode Islanders and Americans everywhere will be left with more severe rising sea levels, storms, drought, and forest fires and the bill for serious public health and safety consequences of spills.”

“It is outrageous that big oil companies enjoy loopholes allowing them to move the dirtiest oils without contributing a cent to cleaning any spills,” said Congressman Blumenauer. “The approval of the reckless Keystone XL Pipeline means that we need this bill now more than ever. These companies should not be given a free ride.”

 

A copy of the “Tar Sands Tax Loophole Elimination Act” can be found HERE.

 

Senator Markey also introduced a second piece of legislation that outlines that if the Keystone XL pipeline is approved, the oil transported and all refined fuels produced from that oil should be kept in America for American consumers and businesses.

 

“When there is nothing to ensure that Keystone oil won’t simply be exported abroad, the promise that the Keystone project will help our energy security is as hollow as the pipeline itself,” said Senator Markey. “America still imports more than three million barrels of oil per day from OPEC nations, making the Keystone XL pipeline all risk and absolutely no reward for our consumers and economy.”

 

A copy of the Keystone XL pipeline oil export legislation can he found HERE