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Senator Dick Lugar: Time to pursue domestic energy alternatives and reduce the need for foreign oil

December 7, 2011

Senator Dick Lugar Keystone XL Pipeline Press Conference Statement :

Our foreign oil vulnerability endangers our national security and puts our war-fighters and civilian personnel at risk. It also worsens our national budget situation as we spend billions of dollars to ensure safe passage of oil around the world. Building the TransCanada Keystone pipeline NOW is a dramatic opportunity to change that energy and national security equation.

At the same time, we have a dramatic opportunity to create American jobs NOW! Job creation is the number one issue in our nation. The Keystone XL pipeline is the largest infrastructure project ready, NOW, for construction in the United States. President Obama has the opportunity of creating 20,000 new jobs NOW. Incredibly, he has delayed a decision until after the 2012 election apparently in fear of offending a part of his political base and even risking the ire of construction unions who support the pipeline.

Therefore, today we introduce legislation, the North American Energy Security Act, requiring the Obama Administration to issue a permit within 60 days to allow the Keystone XL project to move forward. It contains environmental protections, guards states' rights, protects Nebraska's ability to shift the route around the Sand Hills without holding up construction elsewhere, and concludes the comprehensive 3-year federal review of the final Environmental Impact Statement.

Keystone is a $7 billion private sector investment in the U.S. -- half a billion in salaries and $6.5 billion worth of materials, services and other local economic activity. After construction the pipeline will continue to be a job creator and encourage oil production along the route, such as the Bakken areas of North Dakota and Montana.

Robust secure and reliable trade with Canada complements our need to aggressively pursue domestic alternatives to oil imports from less friendly nations. My own Practical Energy plan would reduce need for foreign oil by 6.3 million barrels per day by 2030, cutting our trade deficit by more than $215 billion annually. At the same time, we cannot afford to ignore the reliability and transparency of where we get our imports. The Obama Administration has failed to produce a persuasive domestic strategy to reduce foreign oil dependence, and now it is failing to grasp the potential of energy security within North America.

The Keystone bill will stop the Administration's delay tactics. It falls within the jurisdiction of the Foreign Relations Committee, and I will push for the quickest possible consideration.

I want to express my appreciation for the enthusiastic leadership of our Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, as well as Senators John Hoeven, David Vitter, Mike Johanns, and Lisa Murkowski. And I want to thank each of my colleagues for their assistance. We must not delay the energy producing and job creating opportunities of this project. It is not only a matter of our national security but also our pocketbooks as some analysts predict record high gasoline prices by early summer 2012. There is no time for a delay.

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