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300 N. Commercial Street, Suite B, Bellingham WA 98225
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi Minority Leader US House of Representatives The Capitol Washington, DC 20515
Dear Speaker Boehner and Leader Pelosi: I write to let you know of the Pipeline Safety Trust’s concerns about and opposition to HR 3, legislation scheduled to be considered by the House of Representatives this week. As you may know, the Pipeline Safety Trust (the Trust) is the only national, independent, nonprofit organization solely devoted to promoting pipeline safety. To date, the Trust has been very measured in its comments on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. In our most recent testimony before the House of Representatives, we noted that our main interest in the proposed Keystone XL line was that if it was approved that it be constructed, operated, and maintained in a manner that provided the best possible protection for human health and the environment. To that end we expressed our hope that the pipeline not be approved until the National Academy of Sciences completed the study on diluted bitumen pipelines required by the 2011 Pipeline Safety reauthorization. We also urged that, if approved, Keystone XL be inspected, overseen and regulated to the highest standards. With the exception of the report on the diluted bitumen study, these comments are consistent with those we make about any proposed hazardous liquid or natural gas pipeline. Unfortunately, the bill being taken up by the House of Representatives this week would undermine those standards by legislating approval of the pipeline. Specifically, we strongly object to the provisions of HR 3 that would end all environmental studies currently required to be completed under law and deem related permits approved. While we would be concerned under any circumstance about legislative approval of any pipeline –particularly before the necessary scientific data had been compiled and reviewed thoroughly—we are particularly puzzled as to why Congress would deem approved an international hazardous liquid pipeline for a foreign company at a time when there is no energy supply emergency to warrant even the consideration of such dramatic action. While the bill declares in its findings that the current circumstances are similar to those at the time Congress approved the Trans-‐Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act by overwhelming bipartisan margins, quite the opposite appears to be true: domestic fossil energy production has increased dramatically over the last five years which, in our view, greatly weakens the case for approving this pipeline outside of regular procedures and safeguards. Thank you for your attention to our concerns. To be clear, we are not taking a position on whether the Keystone XL should be built. We do, however, strongly object to and oppose HR 3 and its short circuiting of the environmental review and permitting process -‐-‐actions that may undermine the safety of the Keystone XL pipeline, and will undermine the public’s trust in pipeline safety nationwide. Sincerely,
Carl Weimer, Executive Director