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January 8th, 2015
Rep. Grijalva Urges Democrats to Support Obama Veto Ahead of Expected House Passage of Keystone Approval Bill

Washington, D.C. – Ahead of tomorrow’s vote on H.R. 3, the House Republican bill to force premature approval of the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, Ranking Member on the House Natural Resources Committee, urged his colleagues to support President Obama’s promised veto after the bill’s expected passage.

“This is an earmark for a Canadian corporation,” Grijalva said. “This is not about bringing down the cost of gas, which it won’t, or making the United States less dependent on foreign energy sources, which it won’t. My colleagues have a chance to take an important stand early in this Congress on behalf of taxpayers, the environment, Native American communities and the rule of law by sustaining President Obama’s veto and rejecting this unneeded boondoggle.”

As Rep. Grijalva wrote in The Guardian on Wednesday, Keystone cheerleaders have “never accepted that the burden of proof is on them to establish the need for this polluting, environmentally risky project. Instead, oil-hungry Republicans have insisted that everyone take their economic claims at face value and have accused environmentally responsible skeptics of not getting with the program. . . . What Democrats need to do now is stick together and give the president a veto-proof Keystone ‘no’ vote on the floor. Years of statement-making and maneuvering are about to come to a head. The vote total is the only statement anyone’s going to listen to from now on. It’s time to stand firm.”

The same paper reported earlier this week:

[T]he State Department’s own analysis found the pipeline, once operational, would cause the equivalent emissions of 300,000 cars a year, and it noted that tar sands were 17% more carbon intensive than the average barrel of US crude oil.

[. . .]

Canada already supplies up to 33% of US oil imports – more than Mexico and Saudi Arabia combined. “The energy security implications of increased Canadian crude supplies in a global market are, therefore, somewhat unpredictable,” the Congressional Research Service found. Most of the 830,000 barrels of oil a day transported by Keystone will be exported.

Given the known climate risks of tar sands and the potentially catastrophic risks of a spill or leak, especially near the Ogallala Aquifer, Grijalva said Congress owed it to the American people not to rush pipeline approval through, especially as its first order of business in the new year.


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