Griffin Urges Obama: ‘Do the Right Thing for Our Environment and the Right Thing for American Workers’

WASHINGTON – Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) spoke on the House floor Thursday night and urged President Obama to stop blocking the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline, a critical infrastructure project that will create jobs and help America achieve an all-of-the-above energy strategy.

TRANSCRIPT:

GRIFFIN: Mr. Speaker, I rise to express my support once again for the immediate approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. I feel like I’ve been doing this year after year, calling for the President to move forward with the Keystone pipeline, and I realize, I have been doing this year after year, pretty much since I got here in 2011.

Every day, as you mentioned, as the gentleman from Nebraska mentioned, every day there's just another name added to the list of folks who say, You know what? This does make sense. And when I look closely at the articles, I see that it's a former Obama Administration official, the next day, another former Obama Administration official, and again, and again, and again. And there was another one today, as the gentleman mentioned.

You know, just a few weeks ago, more than two years after President Obama first rejected the Keystone pipeline, and more than five years after the application to build it was first submitted to the State Department, the government's latest environmental analysis of the Keystone pipeline project was released. This analysis showed very clearly that this project will have little environmental impact, provide much-needed jobs, and contribute $3.4 billion to our economy.

What you have in this situation now is a President waiting for a report, the report comes out from his State Department. Waiting for another report, one comes out from the Academy of Sciences. And you know if he keeps waiting, there aren’t going to be any reports left and the only decision left will be his decision. And that's really where we are.

Hardworking Americans are ready for a real, all-of-the-above energy strategy, and the need for this is made more and more clear by what's been going on with Russia and the Ukraine. But the Obama Administration continues to block this critical infrastructure project and all the good-paying jobs it would create.  I believe they're doing it for one reason and one reason only. Politics. Because they have some extreme supporters that they want to keep relatively happy in an election year and that's what this is all about.

Where I live in Little Rock, Arkansas, workers at a company called Welspun have manufactured hundreds of miles of pipe, but it's just sitting in a storage yard because the President refuses to let the Keystone XL pipeline be built. In fact, I was wondering whether there were still some out there, and we confirmed today there’s still 350 miles of pipe sitting out there in the yard.

Last September, Dave Delie, the head of Welspun, testified to Congress that the Keystone XL project has so far employed more than 600 Arkansans for over one and a half years at Welspun alone. Imagine how many other people could get paychecks, could have a job, for all the other work related to the pipeline, including construction work and operation of the pipeline.

Americans are looking for work right now. They've waited long enough. It's time to build this pipeline.

I understand that some folks are worried about protecting the environment and making sure our families and children have clean water to drink. I am too. So let's not argue over settled science. Research released last year from the National Academy of Sciences concludes that the oil sands crude Keystone will transport is no more corrosive than other crude oils and does not increase the risk of leaks.

We all saw what happened when a train carrying oil in Canada derailed last July. Most of an entire town was obliterate and nearly 50 people were killed. That was tragic and devastating. We know that pipelines are safer. We know this.

The solution is clear: We need to improve and modernize our pipeline infrastructure, and the Keystone XL project will include over 50 additional safety measures.

President Obama and Secretary Kerry should do the right thing for our environment and the right thing for American workers. Let’s create jobs. Let’s build Keystone now.

END TRANSCRIPT

According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released March 7, 65 percent of Americans say the Keystone XL pipeline should be approved, with only 22 percent opposed.