By Staff Reports
(High Desert)– Rep. Paul Cook (R-Yucca Valley) issued the following statement in response to the House’s vote today to begin construction of the Keystone XL pipeline:
“Since arriving in Congress, my focus has been on creating good-paying jobs for Americans. Twenty thousand American jobs will be created directly by the pipeline’s construction, with another 200,000 estimated to be created indirectly. The pipeline will be a huge boost to the economy and still protect the environment. It will provide the United States with secure access to oil from Canada, which will protect the national security interests of the country by reducing our dependence on oil from overseas. Today’s vote is an important step forward in making the pipeline a reality.”
The House today passed the Northern Route Approval Act, which approves construction of the Keystone XL pipeline by removing the requirement for a Presidential Permit, granting the additional Federal permits required for the project, and limiting the legal challenges that can be filed to stop the pipeline’s construction.
In February, Rep. Cook and 24 colleagues on the House Foreign Affairs committee sent a letter to the President urging him to approve construction. The letter followed Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman’s removal of his opposition to the project in late January. Last Congress, the House voted six separate times to move forward with approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. As recently as Tuesday, President Obama threatened to veto the legislation.
Cook stated, “The President should reconsider his position. The demand for oil will be there regardless of whether we import it from a close ally like Canada or from an unstable country halfway around the world. Creating a pipeline from Canada will actually be better for the environment and it will bring American jobs. It’s a potential win-win situation.”
Estimates state that the pipeline will move 380,000 barrels of oil per day, which is about half of the amount of oil the U.S. currently imports from the Middle East. TransCanada plans to invest $7 billion in the United States to build the pipeline, generating tax revenue in several states and boosting Gross State Product by billions of dollars collectively.
A member of the House Armed Services, Veterans’ Affairs, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired as a Colonel after 26 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was awarded the Bronze Star medal with valor device and two Purple Hearts for actions in combat.