Democratic News

Video: Watch Ranking Member Cantwell’s floor speech

Washington, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, voted against proceeding to a final vote on approving the Keystone XL pipeline. In a floor speech prior to the vote, Sen. Cantwell urged her colleagues not to short-circuit the ongoing pipeline review process at the state and federal level.

“The issue is whether the American public and people in affected states have had a lot of time to talk about this issue and whether they have had a transparent process to talk about the issue,” Cantwell said. “I’m not for moving forward on what I consider special interest legislation -- of Congress siting for a special interest, TransCanada Corporation. I hope we will allow the president still to do due process on such an important issue of environmental concern.”

A Department of State review of the proposed Keystone XL project has been on hold pending outcome of a Nebraska court case.

Below are more excerpts from Sen. Cantwell’s speech:

•         “Our job is not to site pipelines - our job is to move our country forward on an energy strategy that would provide jobs, diversify our resources and make the United States a leader in energy.”

•         “If everybody here would have had their way they would have passed, many years ago, legislation that would have bound the president of the United States to certify the Keystone Pipeline that was then being proposed. Thank goodness those at the State Department and the White House decided that wasn’t such a smart idea, bcause that pipeline went through a major aquifer that served eight states and proposed a great deal of concern to landowners, to farmers and to residents.”

•         “I find it interesting in the debate on this issue that we on this side of aisle are the ones advocating and standing up for proper owners to make sure that their property is not taken without a transparent process and input to that process. Because that’s exactly what transpired here. When a company with the help of the state of Nebraska did not continue to proceed through their Public Service Commission and instead tried to pass a law  - and all of that environmental review and security issues and oversight could be done by the governor.”

•         “In the separation of powers divided by the governor and their Public Service Commission, it’s the job of these UTC commissions – Utility and Transportation Commissions – around the county to protect the interests of the public in the siting of the these facilities.The fact that this was moved through the legislature to the governor to decide that all was clearly something that was not constitutional. I find it interesting that four of seven of the Supreme Court Justices said, in fact, that the law passed by the legislature wasn’t constitutional.”

•         “Now, Congress feels some sort of urgency to be a siting commission and site a pipeline that failed to go through the public process in the state of Nebraska, has a public process now that’s being questioned in South Dakota, and goes over what the president of the United States said he wants to follow as due process and make sure all issues are brought to the table.”