Hoeven Statement in Response to Comments Made Sunday by President Obama and Treasury Sec. Lew on Keystone XL Project

BISMARCK, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today issued the following statement in response to comments made Sunday by President Obama and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Keystone XL Project:

“After five years of study, politicking and delay by the Obama administration, I am compelled to respond to comments made Saturday by President Obama in a New York Times interview, and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Fox News Sunday.

“First, on the matter of jobs, the president claimed that “Republicans have said that this would be a big jobs generator. There is no evidence that that’s true…. the most realistic estimates are this might create maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline -- which might take a year or two -- and then after that we’re talking about somewhere between 50 and 100 [chuckles] jobs.

“In fact, President Obama’s own State Department’s Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS), released March 1, 2013, found something very different. It’s worth quoting the State Department report at length:

“’Including direct, indirect, and induced effects, the proposed Project would potentially support approximately 42,100 average annual jobs across the United States over a 1-to 2¬year construction period (of which, approximately 3,900 would be directly employed in construction activities). This employment would potentially translate to approximately $2.05 billion in earnings. Direct expenditures such as construction and materials costs … would total approximately $3.3 billion. Short-term revenues from sources such as sales and use taxes would total approximately $65 million in states that levy such a tax. Yields from fuel and other taxes could not be calculated, but would provide some additional economic benefit to host counties and states.’”

“The comments are all the more remarkable because the president himself acknowledged that just the southern leg of the pipeline would create 13,000 jobs.

“The president further claimed in the Times interview that ‘what we also know is, is that that oil is going to be piped down to the Gulf to be sold on the world oil markets, so it does not bring down gas prices here in the United States. In fact, it might actually cause some gas prices in the Midwest to go up where currently they can’t ship some of that oil to world markets.’

“I would be happy to furnish the president with a memo from the administration’s Department of Energy that addressed this concern back in 2011. It predicts not only that the oil will not be exported, but further, that it will reduce the price of fuel at the pump for Midwest consumers:

“’Without a surplus of heavy oil in (the Gulf Coast), there would be no economic incentive to ship Canadian oil sands to Asia via Port Arthur (in Texas). Many of these (Gulf Coast) refineries rely on declining supplies of Mexican and Venezuelan heavy crudes…. They would be natural customers for increased supplies of Canadian dilbit (oil sands oil). …The Gulf Coast appetite for Canadian oil sands … will be much higher than can be supplied by just the Keystone XL pipeline.’

“Further, with ‘substantial additional volumes of light-sweet and other crudes accessible to Gulf Coast refineries, (West Texas Intermediate) prices would increase. Brent, Argus and other marker crude prices would decline. Crude costs to (East Coast) and (Gulf Coast) refineries would be lower. Gasoline prices in all markets served by (East and Gulf Coast) refineries would be lower, including the Midwest.’

“As for Secretary Lew’s remarks on Fox News Sunday, we need only let the facts, especially the dates, speak for themselves. Secretary Lew claimed that the Keystone XL project was delayed because Republicans politicized it. I would be happy to share with him a letter I received in the summer of 2011 from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“The secretary assured me that the department was poised to make a permitting decision on the Keystone XL project by December of that year. Instead, however, with the 2012 presidential election less than a year away, on November 10, 2011, President Obama intervened to postpone that decision till after the voting. Only then did I seek to press for a timely decision on the Keystone XL pipeline project. Politics was indeed played, but not by Republicans.”