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Cole: “Why is the president involved in Keystone decision at all?”

January 7, 2015

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) discussed the president’s failure to approve construction of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline with Congressman Kevin Cramer (ND-At Large) today during a Rules Committee meeting. For more than six years, President Obama has refused to make a decision either way on the privately-funded construction project; he recently announced that he will veto legislation to force approval of Keystone when it reaches his desk.

Video of the full discussion is available above. Selected quotes from Congressman Cole during the meeting are available below:

“It’s okay for America to run a pipeline the entire length of Canada with their consent and their support, but it’s wrong for Canada to be able to run a pipeline through America?

“I look at the states through which the pipeline runs, and I happen to look at where the support for the pipeline is. And it’s amazing to me that almost every representative and senator in the state where the pipeline actually runs is in favor of it. There’s almost no opposition.

“If I were living on the other side of the border, I would be both mystified and irritated that my country was regarded—a country like Canada—as a sort of third-rate, third-world country that doesn’t care about its environment. This is one of the most advanced countries in the world; it’s one of the best friends this country has had. We’ve fought together in defense of freedom all over the world. It’s the largest, longest, unguarded border in the world. It’s a remarkable friend and neighbor to the United States of America. 

“Sometimes issues become symbolic. The substance on this is so breathtakingly clear. Half this pipeline is built. We run pipelines across Canada. The transportation of oil by train and truck as compared to pipeline is night and day safer and cheaper and better. We’ve got billions of dollars worth of pipeline in this country, running every which way. This is one of those issues that, in my view, the environmental community has made into a symbolic issue.

“In the oil business—I’ve learned this over a lifetime—what goes up will come down and will go back up again. If you don’t keep drilling and building infrastructure now, then I can assure you, you can expect higher oil prices later.”


Contact: Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165