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VIDEO: KEYSTONE PIPELINE: Murray Speaks Against Keystone Pipeline Bill

Nov 18 2014

Murray: “I will oppose this legislation, and I will continue to oppose any effort in Congress that ignores or brushes aside the environmental consequences of our actions.”



Murray: “Even though the Keystone pipeline would not run through our home state, Washingtonians know well that the pipeline’s impacts could quickly reach our communities from Spokane to Seattle.”

(Washington, D.C.) –Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) delivered remarks on the Senate floor opposing the Keystone XL Pipeline Bill. In her speech, Murray discussed the impacts of climate change, and the dangers of moving forward on the Keystone Pipeline proposal before its environmental impacts are fully evaluated. Senator Murray has consistently worked to protect the environment, and recently held a Budget Committee hearing on the economic and budgetary impacts of climate change. 

Key Excerpts from Senator Murray’s Remarks:

“I understand the desire of my colleagues to expedite a project they support, and I understand cutting through red tape to get things done.  But when we’re considering a project that could have significant impacts on our economy and our environment, making a decision before we have all the facts is reckless.  It could even be dangerous.”

“We simply cannot put expediency ahead of scientific facts regarding climate change, because as a country, we’ve done that for far too long.  And now, we’re paying the price.”

“With all that we already know about the impacts of climate change, how can we possibly move this project forward before we have a thorough understanding of the environmental impacts that will result from building the Keystone pipeline? How can we force a decision that could very possibly make the impacts of climate change even worse?”

“Even though the Keystone pipeline would not run through our home state, Washingtonians know well that the pipeline’s impacts could quickly reach our communities from Spokane to Seattle. So M. President, I will oppose this legislation, and I will continue to oppose any effort in Congress that ignores or brushes aside the environmental consequences of our actions. For far too long, we’ve put short-term interests ahead of our environment and long-term realities. That has to stop.”

Full Text of Senator Murray’s Remarks:

“Mr. President, I’d like to take a few minutes today to discuss the legislation we’re considering regarding the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

“Because Mr. President, as with too many controversial issues, we’ve lost track of the facts and the basic process for moving a project like this one forward.

“So let’s be clear: the legislation we’re voting on today isn’t just a bill to say “yes” or “no” to the Keystone pipeline.

“This is legislation that would have us skip the established process for determining whether a major infrastructure project, with potential impacts to millions of Americans, our economy, and our environment, should be approved.

“We’re still in the middle of that process, but if this bill passes, it would mean that we’re bypassing over the scientists, engineers, and experts evaluating the proposal.

“It would put an arbitrary, manufactured timeline on a project whose evaluation is incomplete, and short-circuit the process for the public to weigh in on the project.

“Mr. President, regardless of how different members feel about this project, we should all agree that this is no way for the United States government to approve a project of this scope.

“So Mr. President, that’s one reason why I will vote against this legislation, because when it comes to protecting our environment, we should rely on facts, patience, and a fair process.

“But Mr. President, there’s also no denying that the proposed Keystone pipeline project has become larger than the sum of its parts.

“Mr. President, I understand the desire of my colleagues to expedite a project they support, and I understand cutting through red tape to get things done.  But when we’re considering a project that could have significant impacts on our economy and our environment, making a decision before we have all the facts is reckless.  It could even be dangerous.

“The Keystone pipeline proposal is a perfect example, really, of why our process for evaluating the potential consequences of projects like this one is not only important, it’s absolutely necessary.

“We simply cannot put expediency ahead of scientific facts regarding climate change, because as a country, we’ve done that for far too long.

“And now, we’re paying the price.

“Earlier this year, as Chair of the Budget Committee, I held a hearing on the impacts of climate change on our country.

“We heard testimony from business leaders, environmental experts, industry leaders, and even military officials, and their message was clear: the consequences of climate change are not hypothetical, and they’re not exaggerated. 

“The impacts of human activity on our planet are real, they are significant, and they’re happening right now.

“For example, the federal government spent three times more on disaster relief in the past decade than it did in the previous decade.

“And if we do nothing, continued climate change will result in more frequent and more intense episodes of extreme weather, like the kind we saw during Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.

“The U.S. Department of Transportation today sends approximately $22 billion a year to state and local governments just to help them keep their existing transportation infrastructure in good repair.

“But hotter temperatures and more frequent flooding will wash out roads and will put added stress on bridge supports and public transit systems, requiring substantial additional federal investment.

“We know that an uptick in temperature and heat waves will reduce annual yields of major crops and cause more livestock deaths.  It will hurt farmers and agri-businesses, cause consumer food prices to rise, and create a ripple effect that will increase costs to U.S. taxpayers.

“And military experts say that climate change will act as a catalyst for instability and conflict around the world, creating additional threats to our country and adding to the costs of protecting our nation’s interests.

“So Mr. President, with all that we already know about the impacts of climate change, how can we possibly move this project forward before we have a thorough understanding of the environmental impacts that will result from building the Keystone pipeline?

“How can we force a decision that could very possibly make the impacts of climate change even worse?

“Mr. President, as a Senator from Washington state, I’m proud of my work to protect our environment, and I’m proud of my state’s leadership in combatting climate change.

“And even though the Keystone pipeline would not run through our home state, Washingtonians know well that the pipeline’s impacts could quickly reach our communities from Spokane to Seattle.

“So Mr. President, I will oppose this legislation, and I will continue to oppose any effort in Congress that ignores or brushes aside the environmental consequences of our actions.

“For far too long, we’ve put short-term interests ahead of our environment and long-term realities.

“That has to stop.

“Thank you, Mr. President, I yield the floor.”