Montesano resident Emery Haggin recently called Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WAffle) on the carpet on the Congressman’s vote against the Keystone Pipeline. Emery told us he’d let us know if he ever received a response from Kilmer’s office. He has. Here it is. Posted with Emery’s permission and followed by Emery’s pithy response.
Yea, verily. How one Congressman can take up so much space to say so little is the stuff of legend. – Ed
Thank you for contacting me about the Keystone XL Pipeline project. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me.
To start off, let me give you a little bit of background. The Keystone XL Pipeline project is a transcontinental oil transporting pipeline that has been proposed by TransCanada, a Canadian pipeline company. If built, the pipeline would transport oil from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada to the current Keystone Pipeline System in Nebraska. From there, it would be transported to the Gulf Coast region of the United States.
At this point, the southern portion, which extends from Cushing, Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast has been completed and began transporting oil to the Gulf Coast in January 2013. The proposed northern portion would extend 875 miles from the border crossing in Montana to Steele City, Nebraska and would connect to the existing pipeline.
Due to the international nature of this project, the President is required to issue a permit before the northern portion can move forward. The State Department has finalized the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the northern portion and will now determine if the project is in the national interest. As part of that review, it will consider security, environmental, and economic concerns. The department has said agencies are reviewing the large number of public comments they received.
Recently, Congress was asked to vote on S.1, a bill that would, in essence, fast-track the proposed pipeline, exempting it from further permitting and mitigation requirements and allowing the immediate construction of the northern leg of the pipeline. I have two main concerns regarding this proposal.
Still awake? Okay. Just checkin’. Anyone need No-Doze, just holler. – Ed
First, (dontcha hate it when a response from an elected starts with “first”?) as with any project of this magnitude, I think this proposal should go through the appropriate permitting processes and have adequate environmental protections. I do not think it’s appropriate for elected officials to short-circuit a permitting process and greenlight something without adequate assessment of the impacts to the environment or consideration of appropriate mitigation measures.
Under this bill, the Canadian firm building the pipeline would be exempted from paying into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, designed to ensure that taxpayers don’t end up on the hook in the event of an oil spill. I think it’s a mistake to give a Canadian firm a sweetheart deal of that nature. What’s more, having politicians in D.C. put their thumb on the scale of a permitting process without respect for science or environmental concerns is a mistake. The assessment of the impacts of this project should be completed, and if the project is found to increase the threat to our air, water, and land, then I’d be extremely reluctant to see it move forward.
Second, in my view, while this proposal has gotten a lot of attention, I’d like to see much more focus on reducing our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels. I support policies that move us toward a greener economy and the use of more renewable sources of energy. Doing so will not only have environmental benefit, it will also safeguard our economic and national security interests.
As a result of these significant concerns, I voted against S.1. Despite my opposition, on February 11, 2015 the legislation passed 270-152 in the House of Representatives. The President has vetoed the bill.
Please know that in the weeks and months ahead, I will continue to focus my efforts on getting this economy moving forward again. There are extraordinary opportunities in the energy sector, and we should be able to see bipartisan support for investment and job creation around our gas, solar, and wind capacities as well as efforts to enhance and decentralize our electrical grid to make our power smarter and our energy supply more secure. This will reduce our carbon footprint and stimulate economic development.
I encourage you to continue to share your views with me on this topic or any other issue. Thank you for reaching out. It is an honor to serve as your representative.
Member of Congress
If anyone has any clue what Kilmer’s point is, we are now taking applications.
With the USA being one of only a few countries in the world concerned about the “carbon footprint”, any efforts we put forth to try to alter this are just whistling in the wind. China, which has no such short- or long-term environmental concerns, can single-handedly pollute Earth’s atmosphere to a much greater extent than we could ever prevent by our own meager efforts. Besides, the atmosphere undoubtedly has great capacity to “soak up” atmospheric pollutants, just as our great oceans and seas have similar capacities (think of all the oil spills that have failed to foul the water of the Gulf of Mexico or the Aleutian waters for more than a short time).
Representative Kilmer is a knuckle head who, as a Democrat, has bought in to the skewed thinking of leftists and liberals who want business and industry to pay a penalty (in taxes, fees, fines, licenses, etc.) for any carbon emissions they produce. The ultimate effect of such actions will only serve to drive energy industries out of our country, the exact opposite of the much needed policy of making us an “energy independent” country.
Rep. Kilmer should “hang by his thumbs” until the pipeline legislation is finally signed into law by a new President after the 2016 elections. He is costing American jobs and preventing us from becoming energy independent. I would love to see some young, able conservative run against him; even in S.W. Washington, with its liberal leanings, people still need jobs. I would think all the labor unions would be up in arms about this . . .