|00:00:00||I'D LIKE TO FOLLOW UP ON THE COMMENTS OF MY FRIEND, THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS.|
|00:00:07||ON AN ISSUE THAT WE WILL BE VOTING ON THIS AFTERNOON I UNDERSTAND REGARDING THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE SO-CALLED KEYSTONE X.|
|00:00:23||PRESIDENT, I'VE BEEN SOMEWHAT FRUSTRATED BY THE DEBATE AROUND THIS ISSUE AND, UNFORTUNATELY, I THINK WE ARE GOING TO BE CONFRONTED AGAIN WITH KIND OF A BIFURCATED CHOICE HERE THAT DOESN'T GET TO THE POSSIBILITY OF US ACTUALLY PUTTING IN PLACE A COMPREHENSIVE ENERGY POLICY THAT WILL REMOVE THIS NATION'S DEPENDENCE UPON FOREIGN OIL, START TO LOOK AT THE ABILITY OVER THE LONGER HAUL TO BRING DOWN THE PRICE AT THE PUMP, AND TO MAKE SURE THAT WE ARE TRULY A PARTICIPANT IN THE OPPORTUNITIES OF A GLOWING, MULTIFACETED ENERGY POLICY GOING FORWARD.|
|00:01:12||MR. PRESIDENT, I SUPPORT THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE KEYSTONE PIPELINE.|
|00:01:20||I BELIEVE THAT WE NEED TO HAVE AN ENERGY POLICY THAT HAS AN ALL-OF-THE-ABOVE APPROACH.|
|00:01:27||I BELIEVE THERE ARE APPROPRIATE REGULATORY REVIEWS THAT NEED TO BE MADE, AND I FRANKLY THINK THAT ANY CONSTRUCTION OF A KEYSTONE PIPELINE SHOULD TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THE VERY SERIOUS ENVIRONMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS THAT PARTICULARLY AFFECT THE STATE OF NEBRASKA, AND THERE WILL NEED TO BE A ROUTE FOR THIS PIPELINE THAT WOULD AVOID THAT POTENTIAL ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE.|
|00:01:56||HOWEVER, BECAUSE OF THE WAY THIS PROCESS IS BEING LAID OUT, I WILL NOT BE VOTING FOR THE KEYSTONE AMENDMENT TODAY BECAUSE, BY MAKING THIS A STRAIGHT UP-OR-DOWN ISSUE WITHOUT TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE OPPORTUNITY TO PUT TOGETHER THE BEGINNINGS OF AN ENERGY PACKAGE, WE'RE MISSING OUT ON A GREAT OPPORTUNITY.|
|00:02:19||AS I'VE MENTIONED, IF WE ARE TRULY SERIOUS ABOUT ENERGY SECURITY AND IF WE ARE TRULY SERIOUS ABOUT REDUCING OUR DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL, I BELIEVE WE NEED AN ENERGY POLICY THAT HAS AN ALL-OF-THE-ABOVE APPROACH.|
|00:02:35||YES, THAT MEANS MORE DOMESTIC OIL AND GAS, BUT IT MEANS THAT WHEN WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY OF AN ISSUE, CONTROVERSY LIKE THIS REGARDING KEYSTONE, THAT WE COULD HAVE TAKEN THIS OPPORTUNITY TO INCLUDE A RATIONAL APPROACH, WITH APPROPRIATE ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEWS TO GET TO, I BELIEVE, A POSITIVE ANSWER ON KEYSTONE BUT ALSO LINK THAT WITH OTHER ENERGY POLICIES THAT WOULD MAKE SENSE.|
|00:03:02||I KNOW THE PRESIDING OFFICER HAS GOT IN HIS STATE A NUMBER OF WIND FACILITIES AND SOLAR FACILITIES.|
|00:03:15||UNFORTUNATELY, THOSE AREAS THAT NEED AS WELL TO BE PART OF OUR ENERGY MIX, THE TAX TREATMENT THAT ALLOWS THOSE PROJECTS TO MOVE FORWARD HAVE BEEN PUT IN LIMBO BECAUSE OF THE FAILURE OF CONGRESS TO EXTEND THE SO-CALLED TAX PROVISIONS, THE TAX EXTENDERS, ON A GOING-FORWARD BASIS.|
|00:03:41||SO WIND PROJECTS ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY -- AS A MATTER OF FACT, I WAS JUST VISITING WITH SOME FOLKS RIGHT BEFORE THIS COMING TO THE FLOOR WHERE THEY HAVE A VARIETY OF WIND PROJECTS THAT ARE STOPPED DEAD IN THEIR TRACKS BECAUSE OF THE UNCERTAINTY REGARDING WHETHER CONGRESS WILL ACT.|
|00:04:01||THE ABILITY TO GET A KEYSTONE PIPELINE PASSED IN COMBINATION WITH PASSING AS WELL THE EXTENSION OF THESE APPROPRIATE RENEWABLE ENERGY TAX CREDITS, I THINK, COULD HAVE BUILT THE KIND OF BIPARTISAN CONSENSUS AROUND ENERGY POLICY THAT WOULD BE NEEDED.|
|00:04:19||I ALSO BELIEVE THAT ONE OF THE MOST -- THE LOWEST-HANGING FRUIT IN TERMS OF HOW WE SAVE AND CAN HAVE A RATIONAL ENERGY POLICY IN THIS COUNTRY MEANS A MUCH GREATER INVOLVEMENT WITH ENERGY CONSERVATION.|
|00:04:35||THERE IS A VERY STRONG BIPARTISAN ENERGY CONSERVATION BILL -- THE SHAHEEN-PORTMAN BILL -- THAT COULD HAVE BEEN INCLUDED IN THIS PACKAGE AS WELL.|
|00:04:48||I THINK IF WE'RE GOING TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT REDUCING OUR DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL, IF WE'RE GOING TO MAKE SURE THAT WE GIVE THE AMERICAN TAXPAYERS A VISION THAT IN THE FUTURE WE'RE GOING TO SEE THE ABILITY TO REDUCE OUR DEPENDENCE UPON, AGAIN, FOREIGN OIL THAT ULTIMATE ARES-- THAT RESULTS IN HIGHER GAS PRICES, WE ACTUALLY COULD HAVE PUT TOGETHER AROUND THIS KEYSTONE PROPOSAL A TRUE BIPARTISAN, BIPARTISAN CONSENSUS THAT WOULD HAVE INCLUDED CONSTRUCTION OF KEYSTONE WITH THE APPROPRIATE ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEWS, WITH THE MAKING SURE THAT THOSE KEY AREAS OF NEBRASKA ARE PROTECTED, INCLUSION OF THE ENERGY TAX CUTS AND TAX PROVISIONS THAT WE DO AN ON ANNUAL BASIS THAT WOULD CONTINUE TO ALLOW WIND AND SOLAR AND OTHER RENEWABLE ENERGY CONSTRUCTION AND PRODUCTION TO CONTINUE IN THIS COUNTRY, AND A MEANINGFUL ENERGY CONSERVATION BILL -- THE SHAHEEN-PORTMAN BILL, A BIPARTISAN BILL.|
|00:05:57||THOSE THREE POLICIES LINKED TOGETHER, I BELIEVE, WOULD HAVE RESULTED IN A VOTE THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN OVERWHELMINGLY BIPARTISAN, THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN A DEMONSTRATION TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT WE'RE GOING TO KIND OF GET OUT OF OUR RESPECTIVE FOXHOLES AND PUT THE BEGINNINGS OF A TRULY ENERGY COMPREHENSIVE POLICY IN PLACE.|
|00:06:22||UNFORTUNATELY, I DON'T THINK WE'RE GOING TO HAVE THAT HAPPEN.|
|00:06:24||WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A STRAIGHT UP-AND-DOWN VOTE ON KEYSTONE THAT DISMISSES ANY OF THE APPROPRIATE REVIEW PROCESS, THAT DOESN'T BRING IN THE ISSUES AROUND THE SO-CALLED ENERGY TAX EXTENDERS OR THE CONSERVATION BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION THAT WAS PUT TOGETHER BY SENATOR SHAHEEN AND SENATOR PORTMAN, AND INSTEAD GETTING A MORE COMPREHENSIVE VOTE THIS AFTERNOON THAT I BELIEVE WOULD HAVE PASSED OVERWHELMINGLY.|
|00:07:00||WE'RE GOING TO END UP WITH ONE MORE VOTE THAT'S FOR THE MOST PART GOING TO BREAK DOWN ON PARTISAN LINES.|
|00:07:05||SO I'M DISAPPOINTED IN THAT.|
|00:07:09||I DO BELIEVE THAT WE NEED THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE KEYSTONE PIPELINE.|
|00:07:13||I DO BELIEVE WE NEED MEANINGFUL ENERGY CONSERVATION LEGISLATION.|
|00:07:18||I DO BELIEVE WE NEED MEANINGFUL TAX POLICY THAT PROMOTES RENEWABLE ENERGIES -- WIND, SOLAR, BIOMASS.|
|00:07:27||AND UNFORTUNATELY WE'RE GOING TO HAVE MISSED THE OPPORTUNITY TODAY TO SEND THAT STRONG SIGNAL OF A COMPREHENSIVE, ALL-OF-THE-ABOVE ENERGY POLICY THAT WOULD MOVE THIS NATION FORWARD.|
|00:07:41||SO I KNOW MY FRIEND, THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS, IS NO LONGER HERE.|
|00:07:45||I WOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO SUPPORT A PACKAGE THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN COMPREHENSIVE, THAT WOULD HAVE ALLOWED THE KEYSTONE EFFORT TO MOVE FORWARD IN CONJUNCTION WITH THESE OTHER EFFORTS.|
|00:07:57||THAT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. PERHAPS LATER IN THE YEAR OR ON A FUTURE DEBATE WE'LL HAVE THE ABILITY TO COBBLE TOGETHER SOMETHING THAT INCLUDES MORE OF AN ALL-OF-THE-ABOVE ENERGY POLICY AND WE CAN GET AROUND TO MAKING SURE WE HAVE A NATIONAL ENERGY POLICY THAT INCLUDES ALL OF THE ABOVE, AS THERE IS NO SILVER BULLET ON THIS.|
|00:08:18||WE ARE GOING TO NEED TO MAKE SURE WE TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ALL THE POTENTIAL ENERGY RESOURCES THAT WE HAVE IN THIS COUNTRY -- OIL AND GAS, OFFSHORE OIL, WITH APPROPRIATE REVENUE SHARING FOR STATES LIKE MINE, VIRGINIA, NUCLEAR, BUT ENERGY CONSERVATION, RENEWABLES AS WELL.|
|00:08:37||THE SOONER WE GHOAT THAT GET TO THAT KIND OF DEBATE, THE SOONER WE CAN BUILD THE KIND OF BIPARTISAN COALITIONS THAT WILL ALLOW THAT TO MOVE FORWARD.|
|00:08:47||WITH THAT, I YIELD THE FLOOR AND NOTE THE ABSENCE OF|
Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, I will follow up on the comments of the Senator from Texas on an issue that we will be voting on this afternoon, I understand, regarding the construction of the so-called Keystone Pipeline.
I have been somewhat frustrated by the debate around this issue. Unfortunately, I think we are going to be confronted again with kind of a bifurcated choice that doesn't get to the possibility of us actually putting into place a comprehensive energy policy that will remove this Nation's dependence upon foreign oil and start to look at the ability over the longer haul to bring down the price at the pump and make sure we are truly a participant in the opportunities of a glowing, multifaceted energy policy going forward.
I support the construction of the Keystone Pipeline. I believe we need to have an energy policy that has an ``all-of-the-above'' approach. I do believe there are appropriate regulatory reviews that need to be made. I also, frankly, think any construction of the Keystone Pipeline should take into consideration the very serious environmental considerations that particularly affect the State of Nebraska, and there will need to be a route for this pipeline that would avoid that potential environmental damage.
However, because of the way this process is being laid out, I will not be voting for the Keystone amendment today because by making this a straight up-or-down issue, without taking advantage of the opportunity to put together the beginnings of an energy package, we are missing a great opportunity.
As I have mentioned, if we are truly serious about energy security, and if we are truly serious about reducing our dependence upon foreign oil, I believe we need an energy policy that has an ``all-of-the-above'' approach. Yes, that means more domestic oil and gas. But it means when we have an opportunity in an issue of controversy such as this regarding Keystone, we could have taken this opportunity to include a rational approach with appropriate environmental reviews to get to, I believe, a positive answer on Keystone but also link that with other energy policies that would make sense.
I know the Presiding Officer has in his State a number of wind facilities and solar facilities. Unfortunately, those areas that need, as well, to be part of our energy mix--the tax treatment that allows those projects to move forward have been put in limbo because of the failure of Congress to extend the so-called tax provisions, or tax extenders, on a going-forward basis. Wind projects all across the country--in fact, I was visiting with some folks right before coming to the floor, and they have a variety of wind projects that are stopped dead in their tracks because of the uncertainty regarding whether Congress will act.
The ability to get the Keystone Pipeline passed, in combination with passing, as well, the extension of these appropriate renewable energy tax credits could have built the kind of bipartisan consensus around energy policy that would be needed. I also believe the lowest hanging fruit in terms of how we save and can have a rational energy policy in this country means a much greater involvement with energy conservation. There is a very strong bipartisan energy conservation bill, the Shaheen-Portman bill, that could have been included in this package as well.
I think if we are going to get serious about reducing our dependence upon foreign oil, if we are going to make sure we give the American taxpayers a vision that in the future we are going to see the ability to reduce our dependence upon foreign oil that results in higher gas prices, we actually could have put together around this Keystone proposal a true compromise, a bipartisan consensus that would have included construction of Keystone, with the appropriate environmental reviews, with making sure those key areas of Nebraska are protected, with the inclusion of the energy tax cuts and provisions that we do on an annual basis, and that we continue to allow wind, solar, and other renewable energy production to continue, and a meaningful energy conservation bill--the Shaheen-Portman bill.
I believe those three policies linked together would have resulted in a vote that would have been overwhelmingly bipartisan and would have been a demonstration to the American people that we are going to get out of our respective fox holes and put the beginnings of a truly comprehensive energy policy in place.
Unfortunately, I don't think we are going to have that happen. We are going to have a straight up-or-down vote on Keystone that dismisses any of the appropriate review processes and doesn't bring in the issues around the so-called energy tax extenders or the conservation bipartisan legislation that was put together by Senator Shaheen and Senator Portman. Instead of getting a more comprehensive vote this afternoon, which I believe would have passed overwhelmingly, we are going to end up with one more vote that will, for the most part, break down on partisan lines. I am disappointed in that.
I do believe we need construction of the Keystone Pipeline. I believe we need meaningful energy conservation legislation and meaningful tax policy that promotes renewable energy [Page: S1505] around solar, wind, and biomass. Unfortunately, we are going to miss the opportunity today to send that strong signal of a comprehensive ``all-of-the-above'' energy policy that would actually move this Nation forward.
I know my friend, the Senator from Texas, is no longer here. I would have loved to have been able to support a comprehensive package that would have allowed the Keystone effort to move forward in conjunction with these other efforts. Unfortunately, that will not happen. Perhaps later in the year we will have the ability to cobble together something that includes more of an ``all-of-the-above'' energy policy and we can actually get about the business of making sure we have a national energy policy.
But there is no silver bullet. We were going to need to make sure we take advantage of all of the energy resources we have in this country--oil, gas, offshore oil, nuclear, and appropriate revenue sharing with States--such as my State of Virginia--and energy conservation and renewables as well. The sooner we get to that debate, the sooner we can build the bipartisan coalitions that will allow that kind of policy to move forward.
With that, I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.