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Cramer Speaks on House Floor As Full Chamber Passes Bill to Approve Keystone XL

May 23, 2013
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Washington, D.C. – Today Congressman Kevin Cramer spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives as the full chamber passed a bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline without the President’s signature. The Northern Route Approval Act, cosponsored by Cramer, would allow TransCanada Corporation to construct the pipeline on the merits of more than 15,500 pages of existing impact studies conducted by numerous federal and state entities. The U.S. State Department estimates the construction and completion of the pipeline will create 42,100 jobs. In his remarks, Cramer drew on his past experience siting the original Keystone pipeline in North Dakota.

“One of the pipelines we sited while I was on the Public Service Commission was the original TransCanada Keystone pipeline. It carries over 500,000 barrels of crude from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin in Alberta to U.S. refineries in Illinois and Oklahoma. The first 217 miles of the pipeline actually run through our state. It crosses the border in Cavalier County, North Dakota, and runs through 7 more counties, crossing 600 landowners’ land, two scenic rivers, and includes five pumping stations,” Cramer said. “Not a single inch of the line in North Dakota required condemnation proceedings, not because I was such a great regulator, but because I represent great citizens. Our citizens understand the value of energy security and the jobs energy development creates.”

The State Department has publicly released over 15,500 pages of documents on the pipeline since it began study in 2008. The review of the project includes two separate pipeline permit applications submitted by TransCanada, and two corresponding Environmental Impact Statements (EIS). The most recent public comment period for the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) on the project ended April 22. Cramer sent a letter to National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Coordinator Genevieve Walker, requesting the statement be finalized immediately following this deadline.

The route will transport 830,000 barrels of oil per day, including 100,000 barrels from the Williston Basin, to American refineries in the Gulf of Mexico. More than 1,700 days have passed since TransCanda filed the application for the Keystone XL. By contrast, the permit for the original Keystone pipeline was approved in three years despite crossing two more states, stretching 771 additional miles, and meeting strict environmental standards.

“The environmental safeguards we demanded on the Keystone are rigorous and appropriate. They’ve been tested and they work. I toured the Keystone during construction, and met many of the men and women who were grateful for the good paying jobs building the line, and many local restaurant and hotel proprietors, retailers, and subcontractors who were happy to have work and business. The local officials and school administrators are grateful for the tax revenue that would not be there but for the Keystone pipeline, and of course the tax relief it provides local farmers in addition to the easement payments are a blessing,” Cramer added in his remarks.

Congressman Cramer is a member of the Natural Resources and Science, Space and Technology Committees, including the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, and the Subcommittee on Energy of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee.