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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 19, 2014 2:00am-4:01am EST

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with that, i yield the floor. >> thank you. we are addressing senate bill 2280 which will approve wou constructionld to transport this from canada to the gulf coast. the key consideration is whethey this ill contributes to global warming which is already damaging our role resources and our future economic prospects wd with profound consequences for families in america and around the world. and are there better ways to d create jobs? .. before this nation, short of the actual preservation of its existence in a great war, there is none which compares in importance with the great central task of leaving this lnd even a better land for our descendants than it is for
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us. let's start in addressing the vision that president roosevelt put forward. let's start by examining the impact of the keystone pipeline on atmospheric, carbon dioxide pollutions and global warming. in this chart, we see going back 800,000 years that the carbon dioxide level has gone up and down. in recent years, been quite steady until the start of the industrial revolution. and then has soared, soared above levels it has been at for hundreds of thousands of years. and in this second chart, we see that there is absolutely no question that heat, put here in blue, correlates to the carbon dioxide level in red. carbon dioxide level goes up and down. the heat of the planet goes up and down. by many estimates, to contain global warming to 2 degrees celsius, humans can burn only about an additional 500 gigatons of fossil carbon. that is the fossil budget we
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have to work with to avoid catastrophic global warming. but currently the world's top 200 fossil fuel companies have identified 2,800 gigatons trapped in their fossil fuel reserves and that doesn't include the carbon from tar sands and oil shale. so here is the problem. to protect the planet from catastrophic global warming, we need to leave four-fourths of the identified conventional fossil fuel reserves in the ground. but building the keystone pipeline would open the faucet to rapid exploitation of a massive new unconventional reserve -- that is, the tar sands -- making it much less likely for human civilization to succeed in meeting that carbon budget that is so important to our future economic and environmental world.
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and that is why building the keystone pipeline is a great mistake. global warming is not some imaginary foe embedded in some computer model with effects 50 years from now. it is here and we can see it at this very moment. the warmest 10 years on record for global average surface temperature have occurred in the last 12 years. moreover, the effects can be seen in every state, in oregon and actually across the nation, the average forest fire season is getting longer. across the nation since the 1980's, the season -- the national season has grown by 60-08 days. and the average acres consumed annually by wildfires has doubled to more than 7 million acres. this sight has become all too familiar in my home state of oregon. one study estimates that global
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warming through the combined impact of greater pine beetle infestations and larger forest fires will decimate the western forests of the united states by the end of this century. in addition, the snowpack in our oregon mountains is decreasing, which means smaller and warmer trout streams -- that's not a good thing if you love to fis fish -- and less water for irrigation. the calamouth basin, a major basin in oregon, has suffered through three dry years and three horrific droughts just since 2001, in substantial part because of lower snowpacks. and we see here in this chart and these red circles represent a significant decrease in the snowpack. and as you can see throughout the northwestern united states, in oregon and washington, idaho and montana, stretching on into northern california, a huge decrease in snowpack having
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devastating consequences for agriculture. as the high levels of carbon dioxide in the air are absorbed by the oceans, the carbon dioxide becomes carbonic acid. that acid, as one would expect, makes the oceans more acidic. this chart, which presents the carbon dioxide and the p.h. time series from hawaii presents the challenge clearly. co2 in the atmosphere went up from about 320 parts per million to about 380 parts per million over a period of about 50 years. steady increase in carbon dioxide. we then see with this blue set of data that there is a parallel trend in the carbon dioxide that is in our ocean. and then we see from this light blue data that the p.h. level is dropping, which means that the ocean is more acidic. that's a 30% increase in the acidity of the ocean over a very
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short period of time. the greater acidity is having an impact on sea life. one impact is on coral reefs, which are the ocean's most diverse ecosystem and the base of the ocean's feed chain. fishing families around the world depend on coral reefs as a foundation for their livelihood another impact is on the reproduction of oysters. the whiskey creek shellfish hatchery in oregon, which i visited just a few weeks ago, started having trouble growing baby oysters, known as oyster seed, in the year 2008. the hatchery almost went out of business. but a scientist from oregon state university was able to help identify and address the problem. the problem, it turns out, stems from the increase in the asidity of the pacific ocean. the oyster seed or the canary in the coal mine, if they are having trouble forming shells, what else is going wrong in the ocean due to rising acidity? in summary, carbon pollution is having a direct and substantial
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impact on the vitality of our forests, our farming and our fishing. our rural resources are being damaged now and the problems will multiply with additional carbon pollution. so as members of the human family on this planet, with the moral responsibility to exercise wise stewardship of our resources for future generatio generations, we must address this challenge of carbon pollution and we must do so now. wise stewardship means that we must leave four-fifths of the conventional fossil fuels in the ground. so, madam president, as this bill before us, which would open the faucet to this massive new reserve of fossil fuels advance such stewardship? the answer is clear. stewardship demands that we not build infrastructure to unlock the tar sands, the dirtiest source of oil on the planet. but the proponents of the pipeline have come to the floor and made some interesting
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arguments, arguments worth examining to see if they actually hold water. first, they argue the pipeline would create a tremendous number of construction jobs. here is a comparison of the direct construction jobs created by the pipeline -- that's this little tiny, little wedge right down here; that's the pipeline jobs -- versus the jobs that would be created by the rebuild america act -- hundreds of thousands of jobs. so just 4,000 or so jobs in construction of the pipeline. hundreds of thousands from the rebuild america act. if anyone on this floor is actually serious about jobs, we would pass the rebuild america act today. well, proponents make a second argument. they say that bringing this additional oil into america would increase america's oil independence. we heard that argument just a few moments ago from my colleague from south dakota. and the argument goes, this strengthens american national security b by decreasing americs
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dependence on the middle east. but that argument overlooks the fact that this is not american oil, this is canadian oil, and this is not oil destined for the united states, it's destined to be refined in the gulf coast for export around the world. these tar sands do no more for america than as they were exported through canada to the world market. in fact, if you want the oil to be used in america, the best thing to do is not build the pipeline because that means that the area around the tar sands area will be the area getting that oil. shipping canadian oil to the world market via america adds nothing to america's security. the next argument from proponents is that the pipeline has no environmental effect. indeed, we just heard this argument as well. because the oil from the pipeline -- from the tar sands it's argued will reach the market by rail, if not by pipeline. this argument is demonstrably false. there is not enough rail capacity to substitute for the pipeline. and the costs of shipping oil by rail is much higher than pipeline.
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greatly reducing the economic incentive for rapid development of the tar sands. oh well, proponents say. if the keystone pipeline is not built, alternative pipelines will be built through canada. but that is certainly not at all clear f. it was easier and cheaper to build through canada, trans-canada wouldn't be trying to build through the united states of america. moreover, there is tremendous opposition within canada to building such pipelines. that's part of the reason trans-canada wanted to build it through the united states. the opposition within canada to additional pipelines is just as fierce as it is in america for the same set of reasons, fundamentally important moral reasons about the stewardship of our environment and our future economy. so it turns out the keystone pipeline represents a real risk to our rural resources, our farming, our fishing. it represents a real risk to our future healthy economy needed to sustain middle-class jobs.
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the pipeline itself creates very few jobs compared to a serious investment in infrastructure. and it adds nothing to our national security. and there are several other serious problems with this pipeline that have often been glossed over. for one, trans-canada is exempted from contributing to the oil spill liability fund. that's outrageous. you could call this bill the trans-canada protection act. why are we doing a special deal for a canadian company? oil spills like this happen with these pipelines all the time and they're not going to contribute one slim dime to the oil liability fund that american companies have to contribute to? why would anyone vote for that sort of special deal for a foreign company? that irresponsible failure to contribute a single dime to the oil spill liability fund. in addition, we are giving a foreign corporation the ability to exercise eminent domain to seize the lands of american citizens.
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since when do we give power to a foreign corporation to take land away from american citizens without their desire? it's fundamentally unfair to american landowners. now, the legal basis for eminent domain is that there has to be a compelling public good. what is the compelling public good in this situation? is it the generation of private profits for a canadian corporation? that doesn't meet the test. is it the damage from the oil spills that will occur in communities across america? that doesn't meet the test. is it the contributory damage -- the presiding officer: the senator is advised your time has expired. a senator: i ask unanimous consent for a infinite and a half more. -- for a minute and a half more. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: is it from the damage from carbon pollution to our farming, fishing and forests? that doesn't meet the test. frankly, tackling carbon pollution is going to take enormous amount of international cooperation. just a few days ago, the u.s. and china entered into an agreement to address global climate change crisis.
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the chinese president announced china would reduce 20% of non-fossil fuel sources emissions by 2030, seeking to decrease chinese co2 emissions thereafter. that's the type of leadership the world has been asking for. we can't simply wish for nations to work together. we have to negotiate and we have to do our part. that's why today we should be talking about not how to turn on the tap to the dirtiest oil on the planet but how to meet the 2025 goals and how to create jobs by investing in energy conservation and renewable energy. let's remember the test president theodore roosevelt gave us. there is no more important mission than -- quote -- "leaving this land a better land for descendants than it is for us." this bill fails that test. thank you, madam pre
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