It’s official – the U.S. is energy independent! House Hearing 2013

House 113-88. October 29, 2013. North American Energy Infrastructure act. House of Representatives.

[Excerpts from the 195 page transcript of this hearing] 

ED WHITFIELD, KENTUCKY. Over the last several months, this committee has received compelling testimony detailing how the United States has entered a new era of energy abundance. New technologies and American innovation are unlocking vast amounts of previously untapped domestic energy resources, meaning greater access to affordable and reliable energy for all Americans. In fact, the Energy Information Administration recently reported that the U.S. will be the world’s top producer of petroleum and natural gas in 2013, surpassing both Russia and Saudi Arabia. And we continue to be one of the world’s leading producers and exporters of coal.

GENE GREEN, TEXAS. The energy revolution bodes well not only for U.S. economic and security interests, but it also offers significant advantages for our North American allies: Canada and Mexico. Based on current projections, many analysts believe that the U.S., Canada, and Mexico could finally achieve North American energy independence by the end of the decade.

But energy supply alone is not sufficient to achieve North American energy independence. We must also have in place the energy infrastructure necessary to deliver affordable and reliable energy across our northern and southern borders. The legislation before us today will modernize and reform the approval process for energy infrastructure projects that cross the borders of the United States.

JAY MCNERNEY, CALIFORNIA. I do have significant concerns about the bill. I don’t think the case has been made for why projects that are not in the public interest should be approved. We should make sure that cross-border energy projects are in the broad public interest, receive a thorough environmental review, and provide adequate opportunities for public comment and participation. We shouldn’t have a rushed process that isn’t going to provide meaningful review.

HENRY A. WAXMAN, CALIFORNIA. Climate change is the biggest energy challenge we face. Before approving a multibillion-dollar energy infrastructure project that will last for decades, we need to evaluate its climate impacts. That is the standard the President rightly set in June. But this test is a significant obstacle for tar sands pipelines because they would carry the dirtiest fuel on the planet. Over the last few years, House Republicans have repeatedly tried to short-circuit the process and mandate approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The bill we are considering today goes even further. It creates a new process to rubberstamp every pending and future tar sands pipeline. The premise of the Upton bill is that tar sands pipelines should be approved quickly with no Federal environmental review, no public comment, and no consideration of important factors like climate change or even safety. Under this approach, legitimate concerns cannot even be raised. Mr. Chairman, not only is your voice strained and hard to come forward, everybody’s voices will be restrained. That is the wrong approach for making decisions about controversial projects. Keystone XL is a multibillion-dollar pipeline that will carry tar sands sludge. The oil industry financial analysts and Canadian Government officials say this pipeline is critical to realizing the oil industry’s plan to triple tar sands production. Well, environmental groups say the pipeline will lead to a massive increase in carbon pollution. Over one million Americans filed comments. One million Americans had their voices heard, Mr. Chairman. In a democracy, we need a permitting process that allows for public input. This bill does exactly the opposite. The July 2010 Enbridge pipeline spill in Marshall, Michigan, taught us that tar sands spills are much harder to clean up than regular oil spills. Almost $1 billion has been spent and they are still cleaning up the Kalamazoo River over 3 years later. Enbridge wants to expand another tar sands pipeline from Canada through North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

But if this bill becomes law, the permitting agency couldn’t even consider pipeline safety issues when deciding whether to approve that controversial pipeline.

In the Northeast, another divisive pipeline project would carry tar sands oil from Canada through New Hampshire and Vermont to Portland, Maine, where it would be loaded onto tankers. The project wouldn’t require any approval at all under this bill’s new permitting process. This bill virtually guarantees that Keystone XL and the other controversial pipelines with pending applications are approved within 2 years. It should really be called the Zombie Pipeline Act. Under this bill, even if the administration rejects KXL because it is not in the public interest, KXL could rise from the grave and reapply. It would then be rubber-stamped under the new process.

The Upton bill is not limited to oil pipelines. It also applies to cross-border natural gas pipelines and electric transmission lines. This bill would prevent permitting agencies from considering factors such as safety, electric reliability, engineering, and environmental impacts when deciding whether to approve these projects. Energy projects that are not in the public interest would be rubber-stamped.

And the bill would allow for unlimited exports of liquefied natural gas through Canada and Mexico with absolutely no controls or conditions. That is why domestic manufacturers like Dow, Alcoa, and Nucor have criticized the bill.

Mark P. Mills, Senior fellow, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research

Let me just present first a thought experiment. Imagine what would have happened over 7 years but for the extraordinary expansion in the oil and gas sector. I think the United States would have faced not a recession but a depression. If you consider the numbers as a context that the increased domestic production of hydrocarbons has contributed over $400 billion a year to the U.S. economy. It has attracted something like $200 billion plus and growing in foreign direct investment in the United States. It has driven down imports of oil by 45%, which has radically decreased the GDP-robbing trade deficit. We are, as others have noted, now a net exporter of hydrocarbon products for the first time since 1949 and on track, God willing and permit willing, to becoming a net exporter of significant amounts of natural gas, in our own EIA forecasts, about $2 trillion of additional private investment over the next decade in this sector.

It is already well recognized that the manufacturing sector directly related to oil/gas exploration, production, transport, and refinement has seen a growth and also has been recognized that the energy-intensive sector of the U.S. manufacturing economy is under a massive revival. In fact the American Chemical Council has pointed out that there is about $70 billion in investments underway now and about 100 projects in the United States that will come online in just the next few years that will yield about a million jobs and add about $300 billion to the GDP. These are astounding changes but they are frankly only part of the story and not enough. The revitalization of that ecosystem will spill over into the rest of the manufacturing ecosystem because of the proximity of high- quality, low-cost, high-reliability supplies and suppliers, because of the proximity of a revitalized labor source and also, frankly, the proximity of reinvestment in the American educational entrepreneurship and venture community that arises from this wealth that occurs.

It is obviously clear the United States could become economically energy independent and will be doing so very quickly. What is more interesting is the question of whether North America, the United States in combination with its two allies, could be, and will become the single-largest supplier of hydrocarbons to the world. This is a profound change in geopolitics, but more importantly, from a domestic perspective it is a profound change in the fortunes of U.S. companies across the entire industrial ecosystem and for high-paid permanent jobs in the middle markets and middle class.

This won’t come about easily because there are so many forms of legislation and regulations that are locked into a historical way of thinking, the paradigm of shortages, the paradigms of disappearing resources that we all know has now evaporated and no longer is the ruling paradigm. And it is in fact a permanent secular shift in the structure of the U.S. energy economy and the world energy economy. We can now become suppliers to the world in combination with our allies, not consumers of the world’s resources.

The North American Energy Infrastructure Act comes at time of a transformation in the energy landscape that almost no one anticipated. Only a few short years ago everyone was talking about peak oil and gas and about the imperative to find energy resources beyond hydrocarbons.

Instead, we find ourselves today in a world awash in the potential to produce enormous new quantities of oil and natural gas. And the epicenter of that transformation is North America. In a stunningly short time the U.S. has emerged to become the world’s fastest growing producer of oil and natural gas, vaulting North America to the absolute dominant global position in hydrocarbon energy production.

Imagine what our nation would look like today in the counter case — if the new technologies of oil and gas, and the tens of thousands of small and mid- sized businesses had not deployed that technology to release the hydrocarbon riches locked up America’s vast shale fields. The numbers make it clear that but for the hydrocarbon shale revolution, America may have slipped into Depression. Consider the facts.

The U.S. is now a net exporter of refined hydrocarbons for the first time since 1949, and is on track to become a major exporter of natural gas.

This is a total reversal of fortunes from a continent condemned to energy dependence to one awash in production. It is epitomized by the literal physical reversals in the direction of flows in oil and gas pipelines that now carry fuel from the heartland to the coasts, instead of vice versa. We have also seen the mission of liquid natural gas terminals reverse from import to export, a reversal in refineries from retirements to expansions, a reversal in shipyard construction, and reversal in a dozen-plus states from shrinking to expanding tax receipts and jobs.

The hydrocarbon sector is the single most dramatically expanding part of the entire U.S. economy and has been a shining light of growth and high-value full-time job creation – growth that has come without federal stimulus or new subsidies or preferences. This stands in stark contrast to slow or stagnant growth across nearly every sector of the economy reflected in the extraordinarily slow recovery in jobs and especially for well-paid middle- class full-time jobs.

The U.S. is now on track to become energy independent in economic terms. But that is only part of the story and only a first step towards a far more valuable opportunity. In combination with our North American allies, Canada and Mexico, this continent can quickly become the world’s largest supplier of hydrocarbons. The economic and geopolitical implications are far-reaching.

All this begs the obvious question: why wouldn’t we be doing everything possible to encourage and accelerate the North American hydrocarbon revolution? Especially in the context of the role of hydrocarbons in high- value manufacturing jobs — a sector at the very core of the kinds of employment growth so eagerly sought by citizens and their elected representatives.

And the energy-intensive manufacturing ecosystem’s expansion will spill over into and catalyze other manufacturing both upstream and downstream where other businesses will take advantage of the proximity to low-cost high-reliability supplies and suppliers, of the growth in local labor force skills, and benefit from the collateral advances and investments in new underlying technologies. That’s how industrial and economic ecosystem’s work. This is precisely what policymakers hope will happen when they try to “stimulate” such outcomes.

It bears noting that the dramatic growth in American oil and gas production has not arisen from new discoveries or the opening up of off-limits federal lands, but from new technologies and techniques that manufacture liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons from solid shale rock. Widely reported as “fracking” – hydraulic fracturing – the story is one of deep industrial innovation, digital technologies and software, driven and deployed largely by small businesses not Big Oil. It is a quintessentially American success story and a permanent secular shift in the energy landscape.

Imagine what would be possible with a bold North American initiative to optimize and rationalize each nation’s projects and infrastructure. The North American continent has more than double the oil and gas resources of the entire Middle East. Unleashing North America’s capabilities would ignite jobs and growth from the Yucatan Peninsula to the Arctic Circle. In less than two decades North America could surpass Middle Eastern production and become the dominant player in global energy markets.

But the American hydrocarbon sector not only contributes more to the GDP than does Silicon Valley, it has also contributed more to the reduction in the trade deficit, added more jobs, and generated more widespread wealth in more states and thus contributed more revenues and economic recovery.

Economic growth is the solution to essentially every problem facing the nation faces today from deficits to entitlement funding, from housing to political dysfunction.

MARY J. HUTZLER, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Institute for Energy Research

Click to access Hutzler-Testimony-on-Cross-Border-Permits-FINAL.pdf

Oil. Total recoverable resources 1.79 trillion barrels – enough to fuel every passenger car in the U.S. for 430 years. Almost twice as much as the combined proved reserves of all OPEC nations.

Natural Gas. Total recoverable resources 4.244 quadrillion cubic feet. Enough to provide the U.S. with electricity for 575 years at current leves, enough to fuel homes heated by natural gas for 857 years, more than the next 5 largest national proved reserves (more than Russia, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkmenistan).

Coal. Total recoverable resuorces 497 billion short tons, enough to provide 500 years of electricity at current levels of consumption, more coal thanany other country in the world, more than the combined total of the top 5 non-north American countries reserves (Russia, China, Australia, India, Ukraine).

The vast energy riches of North America mean that our economic future can be bright, and we can choose to chart our own course to a greater degree than we have been led to believe during the past four decades of the myth of energy scarcity.

While Presidents have sought “energy independence” as a goal from President Nixon on through President George W. Bush, that elusive goal may finally be within reach according to many forecasters. The energy revolution that is going on in North America is historic, and since the resource base is so enormous, we are not limited by a shortage of energy.

Due to hydraulic fracturing and the shale oil and gas revolution, the United States is already the world’s largest natural gas producer and the world’s largest liquid fuels producer.

The energy pipeline transportation network of the United States is vast. It consists of over 2.5 million miles of pipelines, which could circle the earth about 100 times. These pipelines are operated by approximately 3,000 companies, and are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation. There are over 2 million miles of natural gas pipelines in the United States and over 180,000 miles of oil pipelines

Oil pipelines consist of crude oil pipelines and refined petroleum product pipelines that carry gasoline, jet fuel, home heating oil, diesel fuel and other petroleum products. Crude oil pipelines consist of gathering lines and trunk lines. Gathering lines are small pipelines generally from 2 to 8 inches in diameter that gather the oil from the wells and connect to larger trunk lines that are generally 8 to 24 inches in diameter. There are between 30,000 and 40,000 miles of small gathering lines located in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Wyoming, and other oil producing states. The crude oil trunk lines or transmission pipelines to which the gathering lines are connected carry crude oil from producing areas to refineries. The Trans Alaskan Pipeline System, which is 48 inches in diameter, is an example of such a pipeline. There are about 55,000 miles of transmission pipelines in the United States.

Refined product pipelines deliver petroleum products to large fuel terminals with storage tanks, from which tanker trucks make local deliveries to gas stations. These refined petroleum pipelines vary in size from relatively small at 8 to 12 inches in diameter to 42 inches in diameter and are found in almost every U.S. state. There are about 95,000 miles of refined product pipelines.

The natural gas pipeline system is organized somewhat differently because unlike oil, natural gas is delivered directly to homes through pipelines. There are about 20,000 miles of natural gas gathering lines that move natural gas to large cross8country transmission pipelines. These large distribution lines, of which there are about 305,000 miles, move the natural gas close to cities where much smaller lines carry it under streets to homes and businesses in almost every city and town in the United States, accounting for the vast majority of the pipeline mileage–over 1.8 million miles.

Forty years ago, the United States faced the 1973 Arab oil embargo setting off a series of policy initiatives in Washington designed to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Despite them, domestic production of oil had declined and oil imports had increased until recently. Thanks to American innovation, new drilling technologies have allowed us to tap our vast shale resources and make the United States the largest liquid fuels and natural gas producer in the world. And with Canada’s vast proven oil reserves, the prospect of North American energy independence is no longer political rhetoric but a promising reality.

Pipelines have been used for 3/4 of a century providing the safest, most-efficient, and least-cost transport of oil and natural gas, but due to existing pipelines reaching near full capacity, oil transport by rail has increased dramatically. Last year, oil carried on trains from Canada to the United States increased 46 percent. EIA estimates that 1.37 million barrels of oil and petroleum products per day were moved by train during the first 6 months of 2013, up 40 percent in just one year.

The United States imported almost 3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas from Canada in 2012, 12 percent of our consumption that year. The United States gets 94 percent of its natural gas imports from Canada. The rest comes from Mexico and from overseas as liquefied natural gas. Canadian natural gas imports to the Northeast and Midwest, areas that also benefit from increased domestic production of the Marcellus Shale, are slightly declining, while Canadian natural gas imports into the Northwest are increasing. Four U.S. States, Minnesota, Montana, Idaho, and North Dakota, account for 75 percent of all the natural gas brought into the United States via pipeline. The border States serve as critical links for gas-dependent States like California where over 55 percent of electric generation comes from natural gas.

On the East Coast, Vermont, the first State to ban hydraulic fracturing, is entirely dependent on natural gas from Canada. On our southern border, the United States is a net exporter of natural gas to Mexico where exports have been on an upward trend since 2000 and have more than doubled since 2007. Mexico is also our third-largest supplier of oil and petroleum products supplying almost 400 million barrels in 2012, though this is down from its peak in 2006.

Steve Scalise, Louisiana. I want to ask Mr. Mills about some of the things that a lot of us on this committee have advocated for a long time, and that is North American energy independence. Of course we advocate an all-of-the-above energy strategy and of course we have seen a revolution, especially as it relates to natural gas, oil, and other technologies that have allowed us to access so much more natural resource here in America that allows us to be energy independent.

Mr. DINGELL. I have concerns about the bill as written and I hope that the changes can be made to ensure proper diligence is given to protect the public interests and our tremendous natural resources and that we can do this by using the review processes that are now in the law wisely and not by eliminating the NEPA environmental review process from the cross-boundary permit or from other things which appear to be important because what may be necessary for the situation on the Keystone pipeline may be quite different in other matters and may lead to some very significant regrets if we go the wrong direction. So I would like to see that we preserve an intelligent and reasonably expeditious review process. Mr. Blackburn, in your testimony you said if this bill were in effect for the Keystone XL pipeline project that only the State of Montana has an environmental review process. Would the Montana environmental review have been required to examine the pipeline siting over aquifers, wetlands, rivers, and other sensitive areas in other States?

Mr. BLACKBURN. No, Representative.

Mr. DINGELL.   I happen to have the privilege to live in the Great Lakes region, home for some 20% of the world’s freshwater supply, as well as a tremendous resource for hunting, fishing, recreational use, for industrial and transportation. Not too long ago we had a serious problem with an oil pipeline leaking approximately a million gallons into the Kalamazoo River. My concern is what would have happened had this pipeline been crossing the Detroit River, the St. Clair River, or some of the waters in the Great Lakes? If a pipeline were to leak oil into one of these rivers, it would flow into St. Clair down the Detroit River, past my district into Lake Erie. All the way the spill would affect vast private areas and State and Federal lands of Michigan, possibly Ohio, Canada, and the rest of the Great Lakes basin. Now, Mr. Kyles, this question to you. Your company operates pipelines across the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers. If you were to build a new liquefied petroleum gas pipeline under either of these rivers and this bill were in effect, would a Federal NEPA review for that pipeline be required? Please answer yes or no.

Mr. KYLES. Yes, it would be required but——

Mr. DINGELL. NEPA would be required if this bill were in effect?

Mr. KYLES [continuing]. Not according to this bill.

Mr. GREEN. You mentioned that the expansion of international power lines would support the development of clean non- emitting energy sources, including projects located in the United States. Can you elaborate further on how U.S. renewable projects benefit from the construction of transmission connections with Canada and why is cross-border infrastructure essential in maximizing North American clean energy potential?

Mr. BURPEE. Within Canada, there is a large amount of large hydro storage. There is a lot of wind being developed in both Canada and the U.S. The marriage of large hydro for storage and wind is ideal. Anything that is non-dispatchable or intermittent needs some form of storage. The cheapest, most efficient form of storage is large storage hydro, so they fit. As the systems evolve and we move away from carbon,

Mr. BLACKBURN. Yes, the environmental review process is critically important to landowners and other citizens throughout the pipeline routes. It, for example, allows them to understand something about economics for pipelines, which are critical to the national interest and allows them to understand the impacts to their own particular properties and the ways that those impacts can be limited. If we are going to ask landowners to take a bullet for the country, they should at least know that the pipeline is needed and what can be done to limit the harm.

JEFF C. WRIGHT, Director, Office of Energy Projects, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  

The Commission is responsible under the Natural Gas Act for authorizing the construction and operation of interstate natural gas pipeline and storage projects and for the construction and operation of facilities necessary to permit either the import or export of natural gas. The Commission conducts both a non-environmental and an environmental review of the proposed facilities. The environmental review, pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, or NEPA, is carried out with the cooperation of numerous Federal, State, and local agencies, and with the input of other interested parties.

Section 3(b)(1) of the bill states that the Commission shall approve a project within 120 days of receipt of a request to construct and operate border facilities unless the project is not in the national security interests of the United States, and that under proposed Section 3(b)(3), approval will not be a major Federal action under NEPA. This would differ substantially from the Natural Gas Act in that the proposed Act does not make any provision for procedures such as public notice, public comment, issuance of an order supporting a Commission decision, rehearing, or judicial review in conjunction with the Commission’s consideration of an application. A 120-day deadline would not permit construction of an adequate record, enable important agency consultation, or allow for meaningful public interaction in arriving at a decision. The proposed language could be read as giving the Commission no discretion in the issuance of an authorization unless there are national security concerns.

The Commission, by statute, is the lead agency in the approval of interstate pipeline facilities in the U.S. and at its borders. However, depending upon the location of the proposed facilities, there are other Federal statutes that are administered by Federal and State agencies that require authorizations prior to the Commission’s approval. Even if the Commission issues conditional approval, construction cannot begin until the other Federal authorizations are issued.

Further, border facilities, when considered on their own, do not usually constitute a major project. Nevertheless, a finding of no significant environmental impact still requires the Commission staff to conduct a NEPA analysis to be able to make such a conclusion. In addition, many border facilities require Commission-jurisdictional upstream pipeline facilities to be constructed.

Typically, Greenfield pipeline construction requires an environmental impact statement since there will be significant environmental disturbance. Under NEPA, an agency is charged with reviewing the cumulative impacts of a project. The related upstream facilities cannot be considered apart from the related border facilities. Separate consideration would invite charges of project segmentation and could result in a court reversal of a Commission decision. Therefore, the proposed 120-day approval process would hinder the ability of the Commission to consider stakeholder concerns and prevent the Commission from conducting a thorough analysis of a project involving border facilities, resulting in a decision whose sustainability is questionable.

DAVID K. MEARS, Commissioner, Department of Environmental Conservation, Vermont  

We do have concerns, however, about this legislation which takes a piece of the approval process for international transboundary projects and breaks it out of the traditional process that we have had and removes the environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act. Our concerns are specific to this specific project that is under consideration in Vermont but also more broadly with the concept in general. The specific project in Vermont that we are concerned about is a pipeline that currently runs from Portland, Maine, to Montreal transporting light sweet crude for the most part. And the proposal that is actively under consideration is if it ends up being that Montreal becomes the Locust point for the transmission of tar sands oil, that that oil will in turn be transmitted through the pipeline, the pipeline would be reversed and transmitted from Montreal through Vermont to Portland. The pipeline is decades old. It has not experienced this type of crude oil in the past, which presents greater risks to the environment. The pipeline flows through an area of pristine and natural beauty in the area. It flows past drinking water supplies, over water supplies, wetlands, State parks, et cetera. Vermont is a State that is critically dependent upon its tourism, recreation-based economy for its economic livelihood. And so our concerns are that if this project is exempted from review, that those kinds of considerations, whether or not the pipeline needs to be upgraded or additional considerations around how to ensure safety will not be given proper consideration. Also, our concern relates to the exemption of this project from the NEPA environmental impact statement requirements, which provide for the opportunity for public involvement and participate in. That is a critical aspect for Vermonters. We have a strong tradition of participatory democracy. It is critical to us that our citizens and communities have the chance to fully understand what the risks and impacts are both to their communities in terms of the direct impacts of the pipeline but also the broader impacts of an international transboundary pipeline such as this one that has implications in terms of climate change and the broader energy markets.

We acknowledge and I agree with many of the concerns raised today with the existing process for transmission projects particularly in the oil pipeline context, but simply exempting them from the environmental review and placing a time constraint on to the Federal agencies that are involved in limiting the scope of their review will not achieve the purposes of achieving, as Mr. Mills has suggested we all would like to see, a more robust, efficient North American energy system. I think we all share that goal. I think we can do it in our current system of environmental laws without exempting transboundary projects such as this one, the pipeline reversal that I was referring earlier, from an environment to review.

Paul Blackburn and I have represented landowners threatened with condemnation by TransCanada and citizens concerned about oil spills and climate change resulting from proposed Keystone XL pipeline. I also plan to represent citizens of Minnesota on the Alberta Clipper pipeline expansion, which would probably be directly affected by this legislation. Various citizens of Minnesota might think about this. I would say that the citizens have a stake here and their rights and freedoms must be respected. One hundred and twenty days is simply not long enough, simply not long enough to allow citizens to be involved in these particular decisions, and this needs to be looked at in a broader context. The government offers pipelines a really sweet deal. First off, they get to condemn thousands of parcels of private property and property owners like the farmers and ranchers that I represent in South Dakota take this very personally. Also, once the pipeline is built, FERC guarantees the pipeline company profits forever as long as that pipeline operates, regardless of how much or how little it is used.

In contrast, landowners and citizens get a raw deal because they receive little benefit and shoulder many adverse financial and economic impacts.

As I noted, the Alberta Clipper pipeline is currently pending and it is critically important to recognize that the crude oil pipeline regulation process is radically different from the process for natural gas pipelines and for electric transmission lines. You know, applying this law to all three of them the same way doesn’t make a lot of sense. FERC does an extensive amount of review in natural gas pipelines, as the prior witness talked about, and the Department of Energy does a great deal, as well as all the regional transmission system coordinators do a lot of work for the transmission line planning. In contrast, the crude oil pipeline regulatory process is kind of the Wild West.

Congress should not allow crude oil pipelines to be built until a need for those pipelines is proven. Most regulative utilities have to do this before they get their tariffs guaranteed. This is a real problem, as shown by 2010 FERC petition filed by Suncor, one of the largest tar sands producers. Suncor argued that Enbridge should not have started construction of the Alberta Clipper pipeline because it was not needed and may never be needed, something that the public doesn’t know. Suncor stated—and I will cut to the quote—by the time the Alberta Clipper is finished, Suncor argued ‘‘shippers will have paid Enbridge hundreds of millions of dollars before they reach the point, if ever, where the operational benefits the Alberta Clipper justify their cost.’’

These kinds of economic issues are the kinds of things that the Federal Government should look at, and yet in 120 days it is something not possible to look at this economic analysis. The kind of analysis done in Canada by the National Energy Board and the kind of analysis done at States for need is critically important to determine if citizens are really protected. One hundred and twenty days is not enough. I would say that the Congress should really try to amend this entire system and make it rational for citizens so that we aren’t just simply building pipelines without a clear understanding of why and whether they are really in the citizens’ economic interests.


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