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Jack Gerard's remarks at press briefing on the Keystone XL pipeline

As prepared for delivery

Jack Gerard, API President and CEO
Press briefing on the Keystone XL pipeline

June 16, 2014

Good afternoon, everyone. Thanks for calling in.

Today, we’re calling on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to approve the Keystone XL pipeline later this week, and for Senate leaders to bring the bill to the Senate floor for a vote. The growing crisis in the Middle East, as well as ongoing tensions in Ukraine, makes clearer than ever that we cannot stand in the way of smart decisions today that will help to secure a stable supply of energy for our nation in the future.

Many people are just starting to realize that, within just 10 years, we could supply 100 percent of the liquid fuel needed to run our country right here in North America. Yet, at the pace it’s going, it will take 10 years for the administration to approve a pipeline to our closest ally and neighbor: Canada.

The administration has demonstrated it lacks the political leadership to take the steps necessary to make U.S. energy security a reality. And to make matters worse, the administration is proposing more and more red tape and duplicative rules on the development of America’s own ample supplies of energy. Right now, 87 percent of federal offshore acreage is unavailable for oil and natural gas development, as are a majority of federal lands onshore.

Some lawmakers in Congress would like to hide behind the president on the Keystone Pipeline. They claim to seek more study of the issue even after five reviews by the State Department showing no significant environmental impact from building the pipeline. The American people reject that view – with poll after poll showing overwhelming public support for moving forward with the pipeline and the over 42,000 jobs it will create.

In fact, the most recent polling shows that not only do 70 percent of voters support building Keystone XL, but 68 percent report they would be more likely to support a candidate who supports approving Keystone XL – including 60 percent of Democrats. This is significant, and Congress needs to take note!

Fortunately there are bipartisan leaders in the House and Senate who understand the importance of this infrastructure project – and the jobs and economic growth it will bring along with energy from Canada – leaders like Senate Energy Committee Chair Mary Landrieu and Senator John Hoeven, who are ready to move on a bill approving the pipeline. 

The State Department’s latest findings also show that moving crude oil via this pipeline would provide clear environmental advantages. It’s worth noting that a well-functioning energy supply and distribution system will still require long-term investments in all forms of critical infrastructure. But the President is focused on carbon emissions, and the Keystone project will help move our country toward his goals.

That is another reason why Keystone XL is not a partisan issue. It’s an issue of national security, economic security and energy security.

We cannot stand by while the administration waits – and waits – until it is politically convenient to do the right thing. Over 42,000 Americans are ready for these jobs today, and they shouldn’t have to wait for the dust to settle on the next election before they have a chance to take home a paycheck. Unfortunately, some have even dismissed or downplayed these jobs – perhaps because they don’t feel pipeline building and construction work has sufficient green veneer. But, for millions of American workers, those are the jobs they want.

That’s why I’m so pleased to be joined by my friend, Sean McGarvey, who represents the hardworking men and women of North America's building trades unions, who understand the value and importance of the well-paying jobs offered by the Keystone pipeline. Together, we are calling on Senate leaders to stand with the American people and bring Keystone XL through the Committee and on to the floor without further delay.

Thank you. Now, I’d like to turn things over to Sean McGarvey.
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