tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN January 8, 2015 11:00am-1:01pm EST
solar, i've said so many times in the committee but it's true, in terms of construction and manufacturing. there's 8,000 parts in a wind turbine. 8,000. somebody's got to make those. we can make them in michigan. in alaska i've seen an american-made, a michigan-made wind turbine in alaska. now, we want big-job production and i appreciate so much our ranking member and everything she said, but talking about moving forward on a big jobs plan, that's wind and solar and energy efficiency and biofuels and a whole bunch of other things. let me say finally -- and i appreciate very much senator cantwell raising the pipeline issue in michigan -- we've had unfortunately a couple of cases very serious pristine river, kalamazoo river, fishing canoeing, 20 years of renewing this river one fell swoop, 800,000 gallons of tar sands. i had the dubious distinction of
going in a helicopter over this with the epa administrator right after it happened. stunning. now. the company has come in and, you know cleaned up most of what was there. we still can't fish. people along the river can't use their property their back yards. this is going to take tens of years to clean up. you can go to the other side of the state where we have in detroit mounds of what's called petroleum coke from tar sands that was sitting on the detroit river, now not only blowing into the river, blowing into the school neighborhoods, churches of the southwest side of detroit. now, thanks to my colleague senator peters who's now with us and i was proud to join with him, that pet coke's not sitting there anymore, but it was pet coke from tar sands that blew into huge airreas of detroit. and now we have madam chair, a
real concern in the straits of mackinaw going across our beautiful state from the upper to lower peninsula where we have a very old pipeline. and, again concerns about the fact there haven't been upgrades since it was first installed, very few upgrades since 1953 and what will happen as we see more happening there. we have a lot of experience with this. and i certainly want jobs but i can create ten ways in energy that we can create more jobs and less risk for people in michigan and the american people. and i hope -- i'm looking forward to working with you on that. thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you, madam chair. i'll be brief. it's my strong belief that hardworking americans desperately need the jobs that would be provided by this legislation, that would be created if this legislation were to take effect. they also need the energy, the reliability that will come from that energy.
our energy demands are what they are. we'll continue to buy energy from whatever place we can get it. it might as well be from sources in north america. and i think that's what energy independence is all about. this would help that. this would facilitate that. this would give hardworking american what is they need, which is jobs and energy security. i strongly urge my colleagues to support it. thank you. >> thank you senator. senator? >> i just want to congratulate you, madam chair. i've been working with you on this committee and admire you and looking forward to working with you on all sorts of things including, as senator ohio valleyen mentioned, the bakken and the oil and gas that we're getting there. and i point this out a lot. we are able to do that because of research done by the
department of energy. and in all kinds of technologies horizontal drilling, microseismic imaging, all came from either directly from the department of energy or from work between the department of energy and the oil and gas industry. and that speaks to the kind of research and the kind of job that we're going to have on this committee in terms of funding the research that is going to be the answer to what senator sanders brought up because there's no way to ignore this. i have a grandson who's now 19 months old and i want to be able to say to him that when he turns what will be 90-something
at the turn of the century i want to -- well, i probably won't be talking to him then but i want him to look at the work they did and know that, you know, we've been around a while and are going to be around a while longer. and we need to have a short-term, a midterm, and a long-term strategy to avoid the tragic consequences of something that's very real and that we ignore at our own risk. finally, i just want to say that senator widen brought up american steel. we put american steel into our water projects in the werder bill. i don't understand why this can't be built with american steel if in fact it gets done. so i look forward to, if this
goes to the floor we'll be talking a lot more about it. but, again congratulations. >> thank you, senator franken. senator flank. senator danes. >> thank you, madam chair. congratulations and ranking member cantwell, and thank you for holding this hearing. there's ban lot said already about jobs, economic growth the environmental soundness of the keystone pipeline energy independence, but i want to share what it means for the state of montana. the keystone pipeline enters morgan montana, a small little town. montana is 49th or 48th in some surveys in per-capita income in our country. i'll tell you as i travel around the state in my pickup, you see that not everybody has a fly rod in their hand or is on the ski hill. there's a lot of folks who are struggling month to month to make ends meet. senior citizens hardworking montanans. what this means for montana, first of all, it's 100,000
barrels a day of montana and north dakota oil that enters that pipeline in a small town called baker montana. it's not just about canadian oil coming to the u.s. it's about north dakota and montana oil. second, as i was traveling one day to a rural co-op in glasgow, montana, there in my pickup, show up in my jeans and my jacket, they told me that the keystone pipeline's approved electric rate ts for their co-op paris payers -- folk who is don't have a lot of money thousands of montana families in eastern part of our state -- their rates will remain flat for the next ten years because of the keystone pipeline? why? because they will supply electricity to the pump stations in the pipeline. if it's not approved the electric rates for those hardworking montana families will go up 40% in the next ten years. it's $80 million a year in tax revenues for the state of montana and for these rural counties that desperately need infrastructure to pay for roads,
for bridges, for teachers, for schools. so this is not just about the guard arguments already made. i want to make sure we had perspective of what this means to hardworking montanans who struggle month to month to make it work. i ask consent to submit letters from montanans in support of the pipeline. one states they could receive up to $3 million for improvements to their roads and bridges alone. >> those will be included as part of the record. >> petroleum association of montana talks about how adequate pipeline capacity has been a problem at the bakken and to continue to allow this miracle of this made in america energy we need this infrastructure because that is what the keystone pipeline provides. i have letters from the eastern plains economic development corporation and the montana electric co-ops. >> those are will all be included. >> yield back my time. thank you. >> thank you. we'll turn now to senator
manchin. and i, too, want to recognize the sad passing of senator cappy toe's father just yesterday. she was tudue to join us at the committee, her first committee hearing here in the senate, and very sad day for her and her family and we want to acknowledge that and certainly offer our prayers. with that i will turn to senator manchin. and then when senator manchin has concluded i know that we have members that have other committee meetings that started at 11:00 and i'd like to know if we've got indulgence to perhaps move to any amendments that may be offered and move to take up the bill and at its conclusion, then, have an opportunity for members to provide additional comments.
but i know that we're going to have some pressures on our time. with that senator manchin. >> thank you very much. first of all, also my condolence condolences to senator capito and her family, which i've.sii known most of my life. he was the only three-term governor we had in west virginia. he's definitely a force inway west virginia politics so, our heartfelt sorrow and condolences to them. and to you, madam chair, i continuegratulate you. we're all a product of our environment. i've been all over my state in west virginia, spoken to everybody at open meetings talked about the issues. i've not had one person come up to me, hardworking most of all west virginians are working, come up to me and say i'm opposed to this. so even if i was opposed personally, i'm thinking i'm sitting here for the people i represent. there's not one association that represents working americans, not one association that represents working americans that's opposed to this.
not one that i've heard from that says, okay our organization is opposed. not one. so you start looking at why are we here and who do we represent and whose voices are we speaking for. you would think -- and i respect those who have difference of opinion because i know that that must be where your constituents lie, because i'm sure you're all communicating with them. i've always said we're entitled to our own opinion, we're just not entitled to our own facts. the facts are this -- we purchased 7 million barrels of crude a day. 7 million. we're purchasing. this is not some fact mn some misnomer out there. it's a fact. and let me tell you where we're purchasing it from. and if that's what we're going to continue because we refuse to build this line -- and make no mistake about it this line is already 40% constructed. the line will be built. this line will be built sooner or later. we're just delaying the inevitable. with that being said we buy 1.3 million barrels a day from saudi
arabia. now, i'm not convinced that the resources and the tremendous wealth that saudi arabia has gotten from us is being used to the benefit of the united states of america or our citizens. i'm not convinced of that. next of all we buy 755,000 barrels a day of heavy crude from venezuela. from venezuela. i'm not convinced that their human rights an the way they oppress their people is something that we condone. we have a chance to be dealing with a country who's our best trading partner. 35 states out of 50 number one trading. the best ally any country could ever have. and we have a chance to do more business with them. we already buy 2.5 million barrels a day from canada. we're already using this oil. and you know what, we're all benefitting from it. we're being told right now that if we don't, i mean, if we don't build this line, that the
price -- if we build the line, the price will go up. i've never -- i don't understand economics. i understand one thing. security of our nation depends on us having the ability to have control of our own destiny. and if you have your own energy source, i'm so proud to say to west virginia what we've contributed to this great country, we've had one of the first oil finds in the united states of america was in west virginia. we supplied basically most of the coal most of the best metallurgical coal that's built the steel, that's built the ship that have defended the country. we've done it all. we're willing to continue to do the heavy lifting. we have some of the biggest wind farms east of the mississippi. we're developing solar. we have an energy portfolio that encourages use of everything. we're for all energy policy. but by golly the facts are we need this oil and i'd rather buy it from canada than i would from venezuela, than from saudi arabia, than i would from russia. and we're buying oil from russia. crude.
when they say it's going to be stripped town and loaded on a ship, that is not factual. that will not happen, because we will have control of that. this heavy crude has to be mixed in order to ship it. if you were putting in a pipeline basically it commingles and comes under american law. so if you want to prohibit any shipping of any petroleum product refined in american stop exxonmobil bp stop them all because they all do it. you're shutting the whole system down. the economics are whatter they are. until we find let's say commercial hydrogen that changes our dependency on fossil, in a perfect world that's fine. i'm ready for it. we don't have it yet. and next of all, we have an opportunity to have a piece of legislation that we can have input. i've been here for four years. this will only be the third time they've had a chance in my career as a united states senator to have input on the bill. i agree 1,000% with senator
cantwell that i believe that the canadian oil should be paid into thed3w fossil -- i mean into our oil spill liability trust fund. i believe that. it's a good piece of -- a good amendment. american steel. believe that. we could have a good piece of legislation that we could have 67, 70, 75 votes on a good product when we get done because we have that opportunity up. we nevered a had it before. i'm excited about this. i would hope the people would look at the facts. we're entitled to know the exacts even though we're also entitled to our own opinion. and right now my opinion is we should build this as quickly as possible because the american people need it and i want to quit depending on venezuela, saudi arabia and russian oil. thank you. >> thank you, senator manchin. appreciate your leadership on this. and, again, the very keen reminder that this is not just the united states in an internal issue. this is clearly global, clearly a national security issue.
i mentioned that we have members who need to be in other places, but i also recognize that there are some of you who definitely want to make a comment before we take any of the amendments, potential amendments up or a vote. and so i would ask those of you who perhaps can wait a little bit, if you would be willing to defer and those that would like to make a statement -- i know, senator gardner you have another committee that you are looking to move off to. if you feel that you need to jump ahead, i'm certainly willing to make that happen. i know senator hinrich, you might want to to make a statement prior to amendments. so i would ask if there's any on either side that would like to do so at this time and we will
certainly advance that. senator hinrich. >> i'll make a quick statement. then we can get move eight long if that's okay. or i'll wait until after the vote. either one. >> i want to make sure that you have time to make your statement. >>ly lii will make time. >> okay. i appreciate that. with that, then and indulgence of the members ss who have not yet spoken, and thank you for allowing us to move to to the amendments, as we all know, we are here to consider the original bill to approve keystone xl pipeline. this was listed on the agenda, circulated to members on january 2nd. copies of the text and the agenda are on the dais in front of each member. last night senators portman and sanders filed some amendments.
at this time, i would ask you, senator portman, if you want to offer your amendment at this time and speak to it. >> thank you madam chair. i appreciate the opportunity to offer it. and congratulations to you. and just want to make the point that i'm strongly supporting the underlying bill. there's a study out there showing it's a $3 billion boost to the economy. and coming from ohio, i can see how that's possible because whether it's tubular product, made in ohio, steel pipes, or whether it's structural steel that's made in ohio or whether it's moderning equipment made in ohio or pumps or compressors made in ohio, keystone is about jobs and it's about jobs far outside of the states that are directly involved in the pipeline in states like ohio that will benefit. earlier senator widen talked about the importance of american steel and mentioned the fact we have some challenges on the trade front. we sure do. we had two big victories last year, one in february, one over the summer. we were able to get anti-dumping
tariffs against countries unfairly trading their steel in this country. we have to continue to fight to be sure that american steelworkers are protected, and we'll do that. got to be sure that this steel is used in projects like this. so i'm interested in continuing to fight on that. i will respond further to senator widen by saying that i saw that he said he thought the ducks were going to score within the time it took him to talk. he talked for 6:15. i don't doubt that the ducks might score in that time period. i'm also confident that the buckeyes will score at least twice during that time period. >> twice! >> so -- and we will have a little wager on it to see who's right. the amendment today, as you know, madam chair, is one you've worked on far long time. it's a very simple amendment. senator manchin by unanimous consent, if it's okay would like to join us to co-sponsor today and i appreciate him, if that's acceptable.
it's an amendment that has to do with energy efficiency. we've talked a lot about producing today, and i'm a strong advocate of producing more as my colleague senator alexander, said, produce more, use less. that's a good philosophy. this committee has voted twice overwhelmingly to support energy efficiency measures in the previous couple congresses. i'm confident we will again based on your comments this morning, madam chair. this amendment is not the broader shaheen/portman legislation many are familiar with and have been involved with and supported. this is simply for provisions from that legislation but really important from pro-visions all four of which have passed the house with overwhelming support. in fact, all the members here, senator cassidy gardner, and danes supported the legislation. senator gardner was one of the authors of the legislation on the house side, is voluntary. there are no mandates. congressional budget office tells us these four provisions do not score. however, they are incredibly important. they have not only, you know passed the house but they have passed this committee and they
have been on the floor before, not able to get them done previously because a few senators frankly objected. otherwise they would already be law in my view. so i hope we will be able to add this amendment to the keystone effort. the first provision is one that is incredibly important to many of the members of this committee and the congress because it's a market-driven approach to aligning the interests of commercial buildings owners and their ten net. senator ayotte has taken the lead on that over the years. the second is timely and has to do with water heaters. senator ohio valleyho haven'tven has taken the lead on this. here we have a department of energy regulation if we don't stop it now with actually make our country less energy efficient. it is urgent because the-ers of these water heaters are saying if you don't act now we won't be able to continue to produce these water heaters. we have hundreds of electric co-ops around the country that
operate these voluntary programs that use these electric resistance water heaters to store energy at night and they do so to reduce energy demand during peak energy demand periods. so, you know, it's the kind of legislation that we ought to pass because unfortunately the regulation we got from d.o.e. establishes a new standard that undermines this program and again makes our country less energy efficient. that's probably why you're hearing from the rural electric co-ops interested in getting this done as soon as possible. finally, there are two more provisions that half to do with making sure the largest energy user in the world practice what it preach, and that's the united states government. this is two of the provisions that are out of the broader bill that we believe should be totally noncontroversial and, again, ensure that we are taking what we preach at the federal level and put it into place. it requires the federal agencies to coordinate to develop an implementation strategy, best practices, verification for the use of energy initiate technologies.
there's a final fourth provisions that requires disclosure of energy usage data. this will be incredibly important to deal with this program of having such an inefficient federal government as it comes to the use of energy. as you can see madam chair, these are important provisions pip think they're appropriate to be added to this legislation under the theory woeshd be producing more, strongly in sup sport of keystone xl pipeline but also using what we produce more efficiently in a commonsense way. i did receive a commit thmt morning from you madam chair and i appreciate that, and also from our leadership that we would have the ability to offer this amendment on the floor. now, it's a special commitment, and it's one that i appreciate, and in light of that senator man shin and i have decided to withdraw the amendment today from a vote. we do believe we had the votes on the committee to pass this, but we also in good faith want to move the process forward let everybody get to their committees, but also ensure we do have an opportunity on the
floor of the united states senate to talk about this broader issue of energy efficiency to pass these provisions that senator shaheen and i support and others do on both sides of the aisle get this done and be able to move forward on this very important underlying bill to ensure that we do have not just a stronger economy in this country but more energy independence and we have the opportunity to do so together. thank you, madam chair, and i don't know if senator manchin has any comments he'd like to add. >> senator manchin. >> well, senator portman thank you for your leadership on this issue of energy efficiency. you and senator shaheen have been dogged in pursuing the larger bill over the course of several years now. you've had senator manchin's support. you have had my support. and i think for good reason. when you think about the energy portfolio that is strong and sensible it's not just about
increased production. it is about how we use our energy resources, whether they are our fossil-based fuels or whether they are our renewable energy resources. but how we utilize, how we access our energy, how efficient we are how we are able to conserve. these are policies that we must constantly be addressing, updating, and really innovating on leading on. and what you have outlined in your legislation i think is good, strong legislation. i would like to see us advance that. 375-36, pretty overwhelming in support. i think that saez lot about it.
the fact that you have taken out the cost aspects so that it is cost neutral. the fact that these are voluntary. the fact that frips with the water heretos is a very time sensitive issue. april 16th is coming up pretty quickly. so i want to work with you and to all those that agree thooat this is an important, important provision to ensure that we are able to advance it through the congress. you do have my commitment to not only work with you to get a vote on the floor but an early vote on the floor. and i make that commitment to you because this is something, again, that we've been working on faror a long period of time, and i want to see that happen. so i appreciate the fact that you continue to pursue this and you have my word that i will work with you to see that we
address these issues of energy efficiency that huff worked so hard to bring to the attention of this body. so i appreciate the fact that we will have an amendment process on the floor that is open and fulsome and that's not me as the chairman speaking to that, but that is what the majority leader has made very clear to me, very clear to those on the republican conference, that the opportunity for amendment will be open transparent, led by the committee as floor managers working through an amendment process that kind of takes us back to i guess the good old days. i don't know if they were good but they were definitely a few
years back. and i want us to get back to that point, and i think that our republican leader does as well. so those of you who do have amendments, and i know many of my colleagues do on both sides of the aisle, and i think that's good we should welcome that and welcome the process. it's healthy and it works. and i'm anxious for us to be able to get to that early next week. i thank you for raising this again, senator portman. senator sanders. >> thank you madam chair. i have an amendment at the desk. very short amendment about half a page speaks for itself and i'll read it. but the bottom line is a very simple one. this is the energy committee at the united states congress and we have to make a very fundamental decision. do we agree with the
international scientific community that climate change is real or do we not? differences of opinion. i happen to agree with the scientific community that climate change is real. some of the scientists are telling us if we do not substantially cut carbon emissions, this planet could be ten degrees fahrenheit warmer than it is right now. just think about the devastation that means not only to america but to countries all over the world, coastal communities. the department of defense tells us that one of their great concerns is that climate change which leads to drought and flooding and international instability where desperate people are migrating for food, for water, and all of the international conflicts that that may bring about.
that's what the department of defense tells us. we have insurance companies who tell us right now as a result of hurricane sandy and other extreme weather disturbances that the cost of insurance is soaring and that will have huge economic impacts. so what this amendment does is simple, can't be more simple. here it is. it is the sense of congress that congress is in agreement with the opinion of virtually the entire worldwide scientific community and a growing number of top national security experts, economists, and others that, one, climate change is real, two, climate change is caused by human activity three, climate change has already caused devastating problems in the united states and around the world, and four, it is imper they've the united states transform its energy system away from fossil fuels and toward
energy efficiency and sustainable energy. that's it. pretty straightforward. and with that madam chair i submit the amendment and ask for a vote on it. >> if i may speak to that, i like the first three. >> well, you got all four, joe. >> the fourth one's a killer, bernie, and the fourth one basically says that you believe it's a north american problem and not a global problem. >> no. i believe it's an international. >> and basically we use less than one-eighth of the world's fossil fuel, and we're not acknowledging that basically the rest of the world is not going to follow suit because we're going to cripple ourself. we should be finding this the technology that uses the energy that we have in this country in a much cleaner fashion. we spend nothing -- that fourth amendment should basically -- be we invest technology to use the resources we have. i believe that we have a global problem. i believe we need a global fix. you can't blame north america. it's all our problem.
we'll sacrifice everything and cripple our economy and put a hindrance on the people in this country. and for that i can't support the amendment. >> further discussion. senator hogan? >> thank you, madam chairman. i understand that senator sanders wants to make a statement in regard to global warming, but specifically relative to the legislation at hand, the state department conducted three draft environmental impact statements and two final environmental impact statements and found that this project will have no significant environmental impact and that if dwroint build the pipeline either this oil would be piped to china where you would have higher emissions than without the keystone pipeline because you'd have to transport that oil by a tanker across the ocean to china where it would be refined in refineries that have higher me igss than our refine
refineries refineries. at the same time, we'd have to continue to tank in oil akosz the ocean from places like the middle east or places like as senator manchin pointed out venezuela. the other possibility or likelihood would be that the oil would have to be railed to refineries and that would take 1,400 railcars a day creating not only more green house gas emissions but also more congestion on the railroad and greater risk of accidents, so that the -- now, again, back to senator manchin's statement about the facts rather than our opinion, this is information from the environmental impact statement. five of them -- again three draft and two finals so that nobody challenges when we say there were five of them -- those are the facts in the statement. no significant environmental impact related to this project. and, in fact higher green house gas emissions without the pipeline than with it. that was the findings of the obama administration's state
department. over six years of study. we're now of course in the sefrt year of this approval process that some people feel has somehow been rushed, but i wanted to make sure that was of record. >> madam chair, briefly? >> senator sanders. >> another time and place maybe senator hoven and i will have a debate on what he said. but if you read the resolution, the words keystone pipeline is not in it. what it does say, where senator manchin is in december agreement but it says it, it is imperative that the united states transform its energy system away from fossil fuels and toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy. that is what is in the amendment. >> madam chairman. >> senator alexander. i wonder if i might ask a question of clarification of the sponsor. >> certainly. >> i would ask the senator from vermont whether within his definition of the kind of energy
system he on point four, that he hopes to transform our country to -- whether that includes nuclear power, which today produces 60% of our carbon free electricity. >> senator sanders? >> i have serious concerns about nuclear power. find it hard to understand how people want new nuclear power plants when they will be the most expensive form of new electricity production in the country, far more expensive than wind and solar. and also wanting new nuclear power plants at a time we don't know how to get rid of the very substantial waste that we have right now. to answer my friend senator alexander, moimy hope is that over a period of time we will phase out nuclear electricity -- powered electricity in this country. >> thank you madam chair. >> i do think that this will be part of the bigger and broader debate that we will be able to
have when the measure reaches the floor. it's my hope we will be able to move the out of committee very shortly here. but the questions that are presented about the future of nuclear, the future of our energy systems are what this process should be generating is full, good discussion on that. i will be opposing senator sanders' amendment in anticipation of the upcoming debate on the floor. as has been pointed out here, the measure that's in front of us is the authorization of construction of pipeline infrastructure, the keystone xl a project that in my view -- and i think the view of certainly all on this side and several others on the other side -- is
important to our energy's infrastructure system and how we work to build that out. i don't think it's any breaking news here today, but i do believe that our climate is changing. i have said that. i don't agree that all the changes are necessarily due solely to human activity. i've come from a state where we can see the change. i'd welcome all of my colleagues one day to join me in alaska on a walking tour of what we call the permafrost tunnel, basically a tunnel bored straight back into the bank of a hill in fairbanks, pretty much in the interior part of the state where it is truly a walk back in time
30,000 years where through the ice lenses that you see that you can touch, that you can smell in this tunnel, in this cave you can see what has happened over the course of thousands -- tens of thousands of years. and our climate changes. our climate clearly changes. and as the chair of the committee, i want to focus on what i consider to be those reasonable steps to address what we're seeing with climate. and senator portman's initiative on energy efficiency again is one part of what you deal with. you use your energy resources responsibly, efficiently -- i want to have what i've referred to as a no-regrets policy here. i don't want to be in a
situation where we are taxing our way out of our current energy supply. i come from a state where we pay some of the highest energy costs in the nation. alaska and hawaii. again, your noncontiguous states suffer mightily. the people in our states suffer a great deal because of our energy costs. so i have no interest in doing anything that's going to increase our costs. but i do know that we can do better when it comes to efficiency, when it comes to a no-regrets policy, when it comes to providing a greater focus on a cleaner energy supply, and i look forward to that. and i think if we can focus on that on making all forms of energy more affordable, we can find that common ground there. and i look forward to doing just that. i saw senator manchin -- i want
to make sure because senator manchin, you had an opportunity to take a point. i want to make sure there's -- senator cantwell. >> i could say one thing just so the clarity of everybody -- and i think members know this, but the reason why we didn't encourage members to have a full mark-up process here today is, first of all we weren't sure we'd finish before the 5:00 vote on monday when we're going to vote on the motion to proceed to the rule 14 version of this bill and usually in committee debate you debate a bill and then you pass it out and hope and pray that you get time on the floor. in this case, we are going to have time on the floor monday. so, anyway just a point, if somebody thinks that -- why aren't we having more amendments, we are going to have lots of amendments on the floor. >> senator manchin. >> madam chairman, i'd like to amend the amendment.
>> if you would like to speak to it. snild like to speak to it. basically, as i said, i agree child enticement change is real, climate change caws human activity, climate change has caused devastating problems throughout the world. i also believe it's imperative the united states invest in research and development for clean fossil technology and that would like to be the replacement of the fourth art of the amendment to senator sanders placed and have a vote on it. >> senator sanders? >> i would make that the fifth one of the amendment but i would not -- if you want to make that the fifth one joe, that would be good. but i think it's terribly important that we make the statement right now that the united states lead the world we transform our energy system, you're absolutely right, we need to invest. absolutely. want to make that the fifth one? >> no. i want to replace wit the fourth. >> well, i would certainly disagree with that. >> does the senator choose to withdraw his proposed amendment? >> i'd like to have a vote on it, ma'am. the amendment to the amendment.
if i can have a vote on that. >> any chance those guys would go for an and/or? >> yeah. >> the important point is if i may, madam chair. >> well, i want to -- i want to -- i want to make sure that we understand what senator manchin is doing. we don't have anything -- we don't have anything in writing. just kind of speaking -- >> basically all i'm asking for in the fourth part of senator sanders' amendment says it is imperative that the united states transform its energy system away from fossil fuels and towards energy efficiency and sustainable energy. it's almost imper they've we do that. we -- the fact are, the eia or department of energy says we're going to be using fossil for quite some time. i want to use it in a much cleaner fashion. there's been very little money spent, $8 billion is sitting in the department of energy. i want that money invested. we're moving this direction, but we don't have the fuel of the
i understand that. >> but if -- i understand senator manchin's amendment, it would be to strike the language in section four and replace with -- >> i can give him -- >> yeah. i'm not good with just having it on the fly. i want to make sure that members understand what we're dealing with. it would certainly be -- it's my recommendation that we not advance any of the amendments, whether it's senator sanders or your proposed substitute -- >> i'm just asking for a vote on the amendment to the amendment strictly as a vote since we're going to be voting on senator sanders' amendment. that's all i'm -- >> i believe i understand, but i believe -- i'm not prepared to have a vote on your amendment to his amendment until we see in writing what it is that you -- >> madam chair --
>> it's very simple. >> madam chair, i'd like to offer that we table both amendments. again, we're going to have a robust discussion on the floor. let's have it there. and so i would move the we table both amendments. >> okay. there's a motion -- >> i would -- madam chair, i would second. i think this is an important conversation. i think we should have prepared amendments in writing and we should have this conversation on the floor and have the debate around what that right policy is on the floor. >> there is a motion to table and that motion is not debatable. the question is on the motion to table. all those in favor indicate by saying aye. >> aye. >> all those opposed. >> no. >> no. >> madam chair i'd ask for a roll call vote on that. >> okay. there is a roll call vote.
>> madam chair, can you clarify -- clarification if we may? if this roll call vote would pass, do i get a vote on my amendment? >> no. both amendments -- the amendment of -- >> i'm sorry. if we defeat this roll call vote, i'm sorry, at that point in time, the senators -- we will be voting on senator sanders' amendment -- >> if senator hoven's motion to table is successful, there is no further discussion on either. >> correct. but fit's not tabled. >> if it is not tabled -- >> we both get a vote. >> further opportunity. >> okay. this is a motion to table the
sanders amendment as well as senator manchin's amendment to the sanders amendment. >> ms. murkowski. >> aye. >> mr. barrasso. >> aye. >> mr. risch. >> aye. >> mr. collielee. >> aye. >> mr. flay. [ inaudible ]. >> mr. danes. >> aye. >> mr. cassidy. >> aye. >> mr. gardner. >> aye. >> mr. portman. >> mr. portman is aye by proxy. >> mr. hoven. >> aye. >> mr. alexander. >> aye. >> ms. cantwell. >> no. >> excuse me. miss capito. [ inaudible ]. >> aye by proxy. >> ms. cantwell. >> no. >> mr. widen. >> no by proxy. >> mr. sanders.
>> no. >> ms. stamina. >> no. >> mr. franken. >> no. >> mr. manchin. >> no. >> mr. heimer. >> aye. >> ms. sor ra know. >> no. >> mr. king. >> no. >> ms. warren. >> no. >> mr. flay is aye by proxy. >> and mr. flake aye by proxy. on this vote -- on this vote, -- on this vote, the ayes are 13 and the noes are 9. >> so the motion to table is agreed to. >> right. the motion is agreed to. >> and we will have an
opportunity obviously for further discussion on senator sanders' amendment and perhaps senator manchin's as well. senator sanders, did you have a second amendment that you wished to -- >> that's okay for now. thank you. >> okay. with that, there were no additional amendments that were filed last night. i would ask the members if there are any other amendments to be considered at this time. seeing none, i appreciate that. i know that that will not be the end of the amendments. i think we're just kind of setting the stage for what we will have in front of us next week. i look forward to that. so we are now on the original bill. is there any further discussion? i know there were some members that still had not yet had an opportunity to speak. >> madam chair, will there be opportunity to speak after the vote? >> yes, there will. >> i see people packing up. >> there will be an opportunity for you, senator king, and others as well after the vote. >> thank you. >> so with no further discussion
on it, the question is on reporting agenda item number 1, an original bill to approve the keystone xl pipeline. the clerk will call the roll. >> aye. >> mr. barrasso? >> aye. >> mr. rich? >> aye. >> mr. lee? >> aye. >> mr. flake? >> aye. >> mr. gaines? >> aye. >> mr. cassidy? >> aye. >> mr. gardner? >> aye. >> mr. hovn? >> aye. >> mr. alexander. >> aye. >> aye by proxy. >> miss cameron? >> no. >> mr. wyden. >> no by proxy. >> mr. sanders. >> no. >> no, by proxy. >> mr. franken? >> no. >> mr. manchin? >> aye. >> mr. heinrich?
>> no. >> mr. king? >> no. >> ms. warren? >> no. >> on this vote the ayes are 13. and the nos are nine. >> the -- >> and the bill is reported. >> the bill is reported. i thank members for that. i know that there are several of you who have not yet had an opportunity to speak and would like to welcome your comments at this point in time. and again, apologize that we don't have the full committee here to hear your comments but know that they are equally important and considered. >> madame chair i just want to make the point, we will be filing minority reports to the
bill. >> we intend to file minority views. >> minority -- >> we'll have three days with which to file them. >> i appreciate that. i think we left with, i believe it was senator heinrich, who is up next. >> thank you madame chair. and let me start, as well, by saying congratulations. i think we proved at the end of the last congress that we can get some things done around here. and i'm very much looking forward to working with you in this congress on a whole range of issues. i want to start by addressing i guess, what i would call the issue of misplaced priorities here. and why a foreign tar sands project is the very first topic that the senate will consider this year. now, we know from the eis this was -- >> senator? >> yes. >> in deference to you, i want
to make sure that others are able to hear your comments. we've still got a lot of chatter in the back room. i would ask someone to tell everyone to pipe down. thank you. go ahead. >> i would thank you for your concern. you know, we know from the eis that this pipeline will provide just 35 to 50 permanent jobs. well, possibly offsetting our own domestic oil production and jobs in oil-producing states like my own. the american people expect our focus right now to be aimed at creating new high-quality living wage jobs. our economy is finally growing. u.s. employers added 321,000 jobs in november, the best gain in almost three years. and while we argue about 35 to 50 permanent jobs, potentially generated from the keystone's tar sands pipeline, more than 18,000 new clean energy jobs were announced in the third quarter of 2014 alone.
one transition line that will soon cross my state and senator flake's can produce as many permanent jobs as three keystone pipelines. my fear is that by making tar sands the linchpin of american energy policy, we are literally locking ourselves into a policy. that fully embraces energy imports and extremely high levels of relative carbon pollution for as long as 50 years. all at a time when we should have a national policy focused on domestic production and ever cleaner fuel sources. a vote to approve keystone sends the signal that carbon pollution
and climate change are not serious economic concerns. the state department calculated that the incremental carbon pollution from the tar sands pipeline would be as much as putting up to 5.7 million additional cars on the road every year. for 50 years. a vote against the tar sands project sends the signal that our government is finally taking the science of climate change and risk analysis seriously. and that the smarter investments are on low carbon and sustainable fuels of the future. we have a small and closing window to avoid economically disastrous climate impacts. my vote against this tar sands project reflects that reality. we can't afford to look back ward. but through american ingenuity, we can slow the impacts of climate change, and we can unleash the full potential of
home grown clean energy while creating good american jobs. we have the technology, we have the resources. but we must ensure that our commitment matches the challenges that we face today. and i hope that this committee will begin to seize the opportunities that a forward-looking american energy policy can create. thank you, madame chair. >> thank you, senator heinrich. i look forward to working with you on different issues as well. welcome to the committee. >> thank you very much, madame chair. and ranking member. i want to thank you, madame chair for acknowledging the unique positions of both alaska and hawaii as noncontiguous states. and i'm looking forward to, excuse me, leadership from you and our ranking member in a multitasked, bipartisan way to pass legislation from this committee that will benefit the american people. so i'm very glad to be joining this committee. turning to the keystone pipeline
bill today each time that similar bills have been raised, i have opposed them, both as a member of the u.s. house and in the senate, just now. the keystone pipeline is a massive project. it would run all the way from canada through the u.s. to the gulf coast. that's nearly 900 miles across the very center of our country. along that route are hundreds of communities that are home to millions of people. these communities rely on the surrounding land for clean water. they also rely on the land for grazing cattle and other economic activities. approving this pipeline would change the way that many people along the route live permanently. the people and communities of nebraska share these concerns. that's why it is -- as it currently stands, there is no legally approved path through that state. we owe it to the people and communities in this region to
follow the process that's been set in law to proceed. and that is the presidential review process. that way we can ensure that all of the concerns a project of this size can be addressed. this bill short circuits that process. and that's my first objection to this bill. my second objection concerns a substance of the keystone xl project, which allows for more development and extraction of tar sands. extracting oil this way is dirty and destructive. in fact, tar sands oil is one of the most carbon intensive energy sources known to man. why does this matter? because 97% of a scientific community is clear climate change is a threat and pumping carbon into the atmosphere drives climate change. we are already pumping too much carbon into the atmosphere. the observatory has tracked carbon since 1958. this is the longest running carbon tracker in the world.
in april of last year, the meter read over 400 parts per million. that is the highest carbon reading in history. climate change is impact inging -- the defense department's 2014 climate adaption road map lays out the stakes pretty clearly, and i quote from that report. among the future trends that will impact our national security is climate change. rising global temperatures changing precipitation patterns, climbing sea levels and more extreme weather events will intensify the challenges of global instability, hunger poverty, and conflict. likely lead to food and water shortages, pandemic diseases, disputes over refugees and resources and destruction by natural disasters and regions across the globe.
end quote. the military's leading on addressing climate change by reducing its reliance on fossil fuels and investing in energy efficiency. and in doing so, the military is supporting new innovations and creating jobs. we should follow the military's lead. how to advance clean energy initiatives and innovations and create new jobs. not micromanaging one project for one company. this bill short circuits the presidential review process. development of the tar sands will spew, will speed up climate change and impact jobs, it will spew carbon into our atmosphere. and our communities for the long-term. for these reasons, i will continue to oppose this bill. thank you, madame chair. >> senator king? >> thank you, madame chair, i look forward to working with you on a matter of issues. madame chair, i find this a
peculiar bill. i don't know if i've ever recalled seeing a bill in any legislature that starts with the name of a particular company that's the beneficiary. transcanada keystone pipeline lp may construct, connect, operate and maintain the pipeline. i thought i was running for the united states senate, not the united states building planning board. this is a construction permit being issued to a private company and a foreign one at that. i just find that a very strange procedure for the congress to do. we're supposed to be establishing policy here not issuing building permits to individual companies you know why not write a bill to give money to apple computer. and let's talk about what this bill really does. there's a lot of talk about well, the tar sands are going to be extracted anyway. it's going to happen anyway. well, i'm not so sure about that. particularly because the way the world has changed in the last six months in terms of the price of oil. the drastic fall in the price of oil raises questions about the
economic viability of the extraction of this particular oil. and this bill is a $17 to $20 subsidy to the extraction of tar sands oil. that's how much cheaper it will make it to get that oil to market as opposed to other means, particularly rail. this is a bill that provides a -- doesn't provide a subsidy, it facilitates or allows what amounts to a transportation subsidy to a group of oil producers in a foreign country in order to extract some of the dirtiest oil in the world. what are the benefits of the bill? jobs. the estimate i understand is 4,000 construction jobs in order to do this project. and i don't sneeze at construction jobs. they're important everywhere in the country. but i think it needs to be put into context. in the last month the month of november that we have records, this country added 20,000
construction jobs. we added 20,000 jobs just within the month of november and this project is talking about 4,000 jobs over the course of two years. they're important jobs absolutely, but let's put them in the context of the overall national economy. permanent jobs, 35. i tell people that, and they just -- their jaw drops because of all of the talk about this project and all the jobs it's going to produce. 35 permanent jobs. a new mcdonald's in fargo north dakota would add more than 35 jobs. so let's not talk about this as some kind of massive job program for this country. the number of permanent jobs is very, very limited. american oil production has surged in the last five years. gas and renewables have surged.
energy, we are very close to energy independence. in some so months we are. and some of the people supporting this bill are talking about another bill to allow oil exports. we either need this oil desperately from canada for our energy security, or we have too much oil and we want to be allowed to export it. which is it? and i just think the argument about that. we have to have this oil for our energy security. doesn't pass a straight face test, particularly when the advocates for this bill are also advocating exporting oil from the united states. will this oil go to the united states? it seems to me it's a striking coincidence that the pipeline ends in a port. where is this oil going to go?
and i'll have a chance to discuss this on the floor. will the proponents accept an amendment saying this can't be exported. if this is for u.s. national energy security, they ought to accept an amendment that says the oil has to stay in the united states. otherwise we're just a transit point for oil going offshore. climate change is real. i'll be glad to share it with my colleague from north dakota that talks about, it's climate change in a nutshell. for the last million years, carbon dioxide, the atmosphere has bounced between 170 and 300 parts per million. it's gone to 400. the last time it was at 400 was 3 million years ago and the oceans were 60 feet higher. and on the other side of the card is the relationship between carbon dioxide and temperature. over the last million years. this is real! this is a serious problem that we're ignoring right now.
and my problem with this bill is, i don't think it's going to destroy the environment, i also don't think it's going to boost the american economy. but it's symbolic and it's a turning point. it's an inflexion point. do we want -- and you started the hearing by saying the world is watching. and indeed, they are. and the world is going to say, is america serious about moving to different forms of energy? or are we just back in the same old fossil fuel economy? and i believe it has to be a transition. i don't think we can go immediately from fossil fuels to renewables. we're not there yet. it does have to be a transition. i think, frankly, the transition fuel, however, is natural gas, which is much cleaner than oil. the great hymn from the 19th century. there comes a moment for every man and nation to decide. i believe the exact words are to every man and nation, this comes a moment to decide. and i think that's the moment we're at right now, and it's telling the world are we going
to be talking about a transition to a cleaner energy future looking forward, or are we going to look back to a fossil fuel past? so i intend to vote no on this bill because i can't figure out where the benefit to the united states is. thank you. >> and i look forward to what i know we will have, a very spirited debate on the floor about these issues. and, again, this is what this committee is designed to do. is to bring these points forward to debate them, to come to compromise where compromise is available. and otherwise to advance positions and we're setting out to do that today. i'd like to wrap up on this side
with senator warren and then if senator hoeven you have any final comments you might want to add before the ranking member and i wrap up. senator warren. >> thank you very much madame chairwoman. and also, congratulations on the new post. i'm very much looking forward to working with you on energy issues and with our ranking member cantwell. you know, we've heard a lot about -- today about some of the problems with the legislative proposal to force the construction of the keystone xl pipeline. i want to know why the pipeline is the very first number one item on the agenda in the new congress. . is this about jobs? the number of jobs is disputed. but most estimates put it at a few thousand or less. what if we focused on highways instead of pipelines. we urgently need to pass a permanent highway bill. the american association of state highway and transportation officials says it will create 8
million jobs over the next four years if we could pass a highway bill. we could put people to work in good jobs and fix crumbling roads and bridges. so is the pipeline about lowering america's energy costs? evidently not. even its supporters admit much of the oil in the pipeline would be exported for use outside the united states. it's not about jobs, it's not about energy. why is this bill so urgent? the answer is money. money and power. the pipeline might not do much for the american people but it is worth a whole lot to the canadian oil industry. so much money industry wide is being spent that a political science professor at the
university of kansas previously described the keystone xl bill as, quote, a lobbyist support act. now transcanada wants what they paid for. means a whole lot to lobbyists and a whole lot to a giant foreign oil company. but we know that this pipeline runs terrible environmental risks. and it just won't do much to help the american people. i didn't come here to do favors for transcanada. republican leaders may disagree, but i'll be voting no on this. >> senator hoeven? >> well, just several comments. we'll have opportunity to have
this debate on the floor, which is great. that's the whole point. the issue was brought up, you know, why is this the first bill we're going to. not only because it is important infrastructure to move oil transcanada's not an oil company, they're a transportation company, they'll move oil for a variety of companies. but that's the whole point. to have this debate and everybody gets to bring up the point, have the debate, get a vote. but that's the idea. it's not just this issue. it's getting to what we call regular order open amendment process and open debate. and i hope that can foster more bipartisanship on this measure and on other legislation. because we'll have this debate on the floor. people will have their opportunity to bring forward amendments. we'll debate those amendments, we'll vote on them if you get 60 votes, they pass and get included. and that's how it's supposed to work on the senate floor. so it is a bigger issue than just this bill. it is about returning to regular order and an open amendment process. and i want to thank our
leadership, both senator mcconnell, our leaders our leader on this energy committee senator murkowski for their willingness to do that. i believe that's how the senate is supposed to work. and in terms of who do we work for? we work for the american people. and in poll after poll, 2/3 want this project done. so there's a lot of opportunities to try to you know, position this certain ways as to who it's for and so forth. but if you ask the american people, by a margin of 2-1 consistently over years, they've said they want it. and last i checked, that's who we work for. and as far as a turning point i'm listening to some of these arguments, and they've got to be music to opec's ears. because they -- some of these arguments are going to guarantee that we continue to import oil from the middle east. and i'm pretty sure that's not what americans want. and any other alternative type of energy that any member of this committee or anyone else
wants to bring up, go do it. this legislation doesn't stop one of those ideas. go do it. but the reality is, if you understand economics, economics come into play. and opec and other countries are going to continue to manage this oil price so that things work for them, not us. so i believe we need to compete when it comes to oil and gas and we're doing it. and that's why prices are down at the pump. and the american consumer is benefitting to the tune of billions of dollars because of that right now. but we can't do it without the infrastructure. and the construction jobs that go into building this pipeline are good jobs just like the construction jobs in a highway bill. i don't know how you can say construction jobs on a highway bill aren't good construction jobs are great jobs. and that's why virtually every labor union in the country supports this project. so i respect everybody's point
of view. i look forward to the debate. i want to remind the members that the state department after six years of study continues to say it has no significant environmental impact. i understand they want to debate other issues. that's fine, we can do that. and i'm sure that we will do that. but that's just the point. we're going to get that opportunity, aren't we? and it's long overdue. and so again, my sincere thanks to the chairman and to the ranking member who has been helpful in this process. and i know we'll work on many other pieces of legislation some in which we agree and some we don't. >> thank you, senator hoeven. and thank you, all. i do think it's important as we begin this new congress. the issue of the day the week
perhaps, i don't know, maybe the month, i don't know. is energy. because when you think about our nation's economy, when you think about our ability to engage in commerce of any kind when you recognize energy plays in making this all happen, it's basic stuff. energy 2020, the cover of this pamphlet is the world at night. the globe at night as seen from space. and when you look at the dark parts on the globe the places where there's no electricity where people are not only not
only living a lifestyle that is not something that we would enjoy, but really primitive conditions. it's because of their lack of energy. it's because of either the lack of access or affordability. and it is a subject that when people are sitting in their homes as they're talking with their families about those issues those concerns that worry them some of the most basic needs to keep warm. energy is pretty basic. and again, as i mentioned, i can distill it to one bumper sticker. energy is good. but how we responsibly access it, how we utilize it, how we
develop it in a way that benefits all is part of our challenge. i think it is an exciting one to begin the new year. and i'm very pleased to be able to work with all of you in the areas that are so important to us. i would like to truly thank her for her willingness to work together to find common ground on some issues where i think we know that we have some perhaps disagreement, perhaps some fill is philosophical divide.
and i think it was a good barometer about some of the things we take up. and it makes our jobs more challenging. and how we ensure that members of our committee feel heard and feel that they have been a participant in this process. so i thank you senator cantwell, and i'm looking forward to working together with you. >> well thank you senator murkowski. and i can say one thing. i'm sure you and i are never going to forget this week. and an opening of new energy committee effort. i will just close by saying, you know, when i first came to the united states senate in 2001, the very very, very first piece of legislation that i had to deal with was new regulation on natural gas pipelines. because we had an explosion in washington that killed young children playing by the pipeline. so i learned at that moment how important the citing process the security issues, the maintenance of those pipelines
and we're talking about something different, natural gas than the tar sands. but i learned how important all these issues are and the gaps in our regulatory. sometimes lost in the organizations that the public doesn't even know or understand. so to me, i think it's time for the united states of america to update and make sure that we all understand whose responsibilities these are. and not paying into the oil spill trust fund, make sure the tar sands pays into the liability trust fund. but the bottom line is we are usurping a state authority here on a very important public interest security safety and environmental issues. and i think my colleagues said it best. we have no right as a congress to be trying to dictate for a
private interest. the usurption of those rights to be decided in the state of nebraska. i'm sure we will continue this debate. i'm hoping for the energy committee overall that we get off of this very quickly and on to a larger discussion about a broad energy strategy that we can work on together. i really do have great deal of hope for your leadership in this committee and the fact that this committee, you know, while i do think we have very different committees i mean very different members on our side and very different members on your side, i think in general this committee has been about regional focuses and bringing those regional focuses. not so much r & d politics. hopefully we can move forward on a larger job producing energy bill and work together very soon.
thank you very much and we'll look forward to this discussion on the floor. >> thank you. and before i gavel out. i thought it was appropriate today. it is of heritage, and senator cantwell will know, they are from the pacific northwest my grandfather received this from someone who had left canada to come to alaska settled. and this has been something that has been on my father's desk since the time that i can remember. and i'm not quite sure what they would have called it. but i thought given the discussion today about transboundary issues that something of this descent should
mark the beginning of this energy committee and hopefully a good and strong presence in the year. with that, we're adjourned. the senate energy and natural resources wrapping up, due before the full senate next week. the house marked it up yesterday and they'll consider it tomorrow on the house floor. it's identical to a bill that was defeated and voted on in
november. it is co-sponsored by john hoeven of north dakota and west virginia democrat joe manchin. republican leaders in both the house and the senate said that after the november elections, this would be one of the first bills they would jointly consider and sent the president who said he will veto it. you can watch this hearing if you missed any of it any time online at our website, c-span.org. a short time ago, california democrat barbara boxer tweeted she will not seek re-election in 2016. also a video message with the tweet. chaired both the environment and the ethics committees during the last congress. and representatives of food and agriculture companies along with members of congress today are speaking about ending the trade embargo with cuba and advancing open trade and investment. tom vilsack and jay nixon also
take part. the u.s. agriculture coalition for cuba hosts this event. and you can see it live beginning at 2:00 p.m. eastern. >> friends colleagues countrymen, and especially the people of ohio's eighth congressional district, thank you for sending me here. and let's today welcome all of the new members and all of their families to what we all know to be a truly historic day. >> today's an important day for our country. many senators took the oath this afternoon for the first time and a new republican majority accepted its new responsibility. we recognize the normty of the task before us. we know a lot of hard work awaits. we know many important opportunities await, as well. >> follow the gop-led congress
and the newest members. the best access on c-span television c-span radio, and c-span.org. >> here are a few of the comments we've recently received on the 114th congress. >> nothing's going to change in washington, d.c. as the previous caller said, it's too much corruption. some of these senators been there too long. it's time for them to go. give the younger ones a chance. new ideas. this country's on the wrong path. we not going to get anywhere as long as these senators stay in that same position. john mccain and then they've been down there, lindsey graham. it's the same old thing. it's time for changes. people are working too hard in this country have to work two and three jobs to take care of
their family and still not getting anywhere. something has to give. >> i'm looking at the overall conversations that you guys have been having for the last three or four months. and the congress, the government is so huge, what can they do when they go in there today? i tell you they could be like the leaders they should have been. the leaders that i was raised around. the men that looked over into communities that they lived in and said these are our children. these are our young men and our daughters. what can we do in a realistic way to make this a better place to live. us who are having to work and pay for it. guys, we're living a pretty good life here. take what you got the opportunity to do and do something and quit playing games with what you think you're going
to value in life that you're going to have to give away one day. it's going to do nothing for the american people. how is it that congressmen become good people until they get elected. when they go to washington, the lies the propaganda, and it seems disturbing to me that it seems everything president obama does is wrong. and it's sad to me because i'm a pastor and i hear these people come on. your colleague came on and said that he was a christian. well jesus said if you do this to the least of them you have done it to me. >> continue to let us know what you think about the programs you're watching. send us a tweet
tweet @c-span #comments. like us on facebook, follow us on twitter. >> a look at the bbc's website as the u.s. defense department announced it's scaling down some of the u.s. military's infrastructure in europe. the pentagon said that it'll close milldon hall and molesworth air bases in the united kingdom. also the f-35 joint strike fighter will be permanently based in europe. these actions are the result of the european infrastructure consolidation process, which the pentagon says expects to save the department $500 million a year. here's a look at that briefing from earlier today. >> ladies and gentlemen, good morning. welcome to the pentagon if you're from outside the
building. we're going to have a briefing today. the topic is the european infrastructure, consolidation and the actions taken derived from that. we have the assistant secretary of defense mr. derek cholet. and performing the duties of the assistant secretary of defense. they'll make opening statements time for questions afterwards. and let me know if there's questions beyond that if we've run out of time. >> good morning. european and transatlantic security is more important than ever. the united states remains committed to nato and our presence in europe. we currently have approximately 67,000 military personnel stationed in europe and our
troops train and deploy with european counterparts across the globe. our european allies remain our strong partners in addressing shared security challenges whether in responding to russia's actions against ukraine or the operations in iraq and syria, where european countries are a vital part of the coalition. u.s. forward basing and access to facilities in europe are an indispensable opponent to that partnership. they enable the united states military and our allies to respond to crises quickly and our operational presence in europe is critical to our common global security goals. yet, at the same time, we must ensure that we pursue these goals in a way that is as efficient and effective as possible. that's why two years ago the department initiated a process to review our forced presence and facilities in europe known as the european infrastructure consolidation, or eic. today, we are announcing the
results of the eic process which aims to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of our presence in europe by consolidating and realigning excess infrastructure. in this process, the department maintained a close and consistent engagement with the congress, with the state department, with the joint staff, with the services, with ucom and our european partners. over the past several years secretary hagel has discussed these issues with his european counterparts and just yesterday he had phone conversations with the defense had ministers of the united kingdom, germany italy and portugal. we'll continue this as implementation occurs over the next several years. with these eic decisions, we are consolidating and reducing some existing support infrastructure in order to be more efficient. but we are not effecting our operational capability. the eic adjustments do not
diminish our ability to meet our commitments to allies and partners. in fact these decisions will produce savings that will enable us to maintain a robust forced presence in europe. we are also investing in new infrastructure and expanding and enhancing our partnerships and joint and combined training opportunities across europe. this includes investments in infrastructure, greater rotational presence in air, land and sea, and enhanced exercises. such efforts will be supported by the nearly 1 billion in additional funds that congress provided at the end of last year. and through the eic we ensured that the united states will retain the infrastructure in europe needed to support our permanently stationed forces additional rotational forces and contingency requirements. on that note today, we are announcing that the united states air force will permanently base the f-35 joint strike fighter in europe and that the secretary of defense has selected the united kingdom as the first location to host
two squadron of f-35s. this decision is just the latest example of the special relationship between the united states and the united kingdom. the presence of u.s. f-35s will lead to new possibilities for collaboration with the united kingdom such as the potential for greater training and wider support opportunities. taken together, these decisions on our forced presence in europe will enhance our operational readiness and mission posture reduced funding levels all toward the objective of maintaining a strong transatlantic alliance and meeting our common security interests. with that, i'd like to turn it over to my colleague john conger who led the effort for the details on the process and the decisions made here. >> thanks. so i'm john conger and responsible for installations and infrastructure at the department. and the responsibility for managing the eic process as it unfolded over the last two years.
due to past and ongoing structure changes, security environment and the ongoing tough fiscal climate, the department of defense undertook a comprehensive review of the infrastructure requirements necessary to support u.s. forces missions in and around europe. let me add a point here for context. we have continually sought efficiencies as we manage installations worldwide. that's one of the reasons we have requested base realignment and closure or brac authority to do a review of our u.s. installations. in this fiscal environment, it would be irresponsible of us not to look for such savings. similarly, we thought a review of our infrastructure in europe was important to conduct. we used a process very similar to the proven u.s. brac process in analyzing the bases in europe. we looked at the capacity, requirements military value at cost, and at the diplomatic dynamics involved in each action. the bottom line for us was we
wanted to preserve our operational capability while reducing the cost of supporting it. therefore, as we consolidate our footprint, the infrastructure remaining in place will continue to support our operational requirements and strategic commitments. we did not contemplate changes that reduced fighting capability. that was a fundamental constraint of the analysis. the largest installation that is part of this announcement is our return to the uk. approximately 3,200 u.s. personnel from middlelden hall will be restationed elsewhere. the addition of about 1,200 personnel that will support the f-35s being stationed. both of these events will occur in the 2018 to 2021 time frame. there are a number of divestitures that will be occurring, but this is the largest example. the overall eic process will see
the excess infrastructure that will save the department approximately $500 million a year. all while maintaining the same operational capability. as a result, we will not need as many support personnel to maintain a reduced infrastructure in terms of both u.s. military and civilian personnel and host nation employees. approximately 1,200 u.s. military and civilian support positions will be eliminated. and about 6,000 more u.s. personnel will be relocated within europe. up to 1,100 host nation positions could be eliminated, and prkapproximately 1,500 working for the u.s. could end up impacted over the next several years as many positions are relocated to areas we need to maintain for the long-term. as i stated earlier, the largest local, national job reductions will come from the closure of mildon hall in the uk but offset with the f-35 basing.
you may have questions about exactly how many will be affected by each installation, site, but i'd refer you to the u.s. european command and the component commands. these recommendations will be executed over the next several years. that does not mean everything will remain static as the changes occur. undoubtedly be future basing actions. however, today we're talking about the wholistic review we conducted over the last two years, which i believe will strengthen our posture in europe. thank you very much for your attention. >> yes. question. >> as you may know, the threat that is facing europe now and could face europe in the future is a threat from nonconventional groups, such as al qaeda or isil or other groups. how do you explain the reason or
purpose of keeping 67,000 u.s. troops in europe? what's the objective from that? >> so there are several objectives. clearly we continue to have security interest in europe and security threats to europe. the recent crisis in ukraine over the last year illustrates that. but also, it's important to note that europe is a critical platform for u.s. military operations, particularly middle east and north africa. facilities, bases, and capabilities that we station in europe are absolutely critical to military operations throughout the middle east and north africa. and, in fact the world as transit points to asia and elsewhere. so i think our military presence, of course, has come down in europe significantly since the end of the cold war over the last quarter century. but maintaining a strong, robust forced presence in europe is
absolutely vital to our national security interests. >> do you think with the eic process, the strategy would be better to face the infiltration of terrorists throughout europe? >> i'm not sure i understand the question. >> do you think we will expect better strategy to counter the infiltration of terrorists throughout europe? >> so there are two separate issues. the eic process is about infrastructure and gaining greater efficiencies to allow us to maintain a strong forced presence in europe into the future. separate set of issues about asymmetric threats. and that's something the general has talked about and secretary hagel has talked about. as challenges for the nato alliance. and it's something that nato partners talked about at the summit in wales last year and will certainly talk about later this year at the defense
ministerial in february. >> to follow up a little bit on the same. is there any element in this realignment, reorganization that either you worry hinders your military intelligence counterterrorism capability? or is there anything where maybe on the other hand you might have saved some money, realigned things and it might actually enhance it and free something up for you? is there any? >> yeah one of the challenges, or the efforts here was to match both the desire to gain greater efficiencies in infrastructure but while still maintaining what we believe is the infrastructure to allow the force presence to ensure that we can defend our national security interests. so none of the infrastructure consolidation, efficiencies that we'll be getting out of this process will have any bearing on our ability to operational capability or ability to defend our interests, intelligence capabilities. in fact, the savings that we will be gaining in this process
will allow us to maintain a strong forced presence into the future. >> hi. you folks have made it very clear that you know, you're consolidating but not reducing the operational capability, the security of europe, et cetera. obvious question is how, simply a matter of finding leftover stuff from the cold war that's been sitting idle? or is it, you know a more -- is there more to it than that in terms of cutting infrastructure without actually getting rid of stuff that you need? >> let me take that one. it's closer to the first idea that you floated. what we were doing was looking at -- we looked at capacity versus requirements. and we found that we were able to consolidate the same capability on fewer locations. there were some places i'm not
sure i would characterize it as left over from the cold war, but there certainly are a lot of individual sites that are smaller that we were able to collapse together. and some of them were small. a lot of the things you'll see in the list the general public may not be familiar with. there were several recommendations that added together at a larger impact. mildon hall is the one most will have heard of. but when you leave a site that reduces the requirements for not -- for supporting that site. so the security, the public works, et cetera, et cetera, individual staffs that are at that particular location are duplicative at that point. >> overhead. >> yes? >> and where do these small, inefficient bases come from in the first place? they had a point when they were first created. >> i can't speak to the initiation of the hundreds of
sites we have in europe and why we had to lay down there at the beginning, but i understand that it's a -- in some respects a characteristic of the end of world war ii. >> in the scheme of the department's overall budget, 500 million in savings a year doesn't sound like a whole lot. had you contemplated closing more installations but change course because of what's been going on in ukraine and russia? >> i don't think so. keep in mind that this was not an effort designed to solve the entire fiscal problem of the department. we have looked for base realignment closure authority in the past, which obviously would've had a larger impact. this was a practical, sensible wholistic look that we could do on a subset of our footprint. and we took that action.
$500 million a year while not large compared to the rest of the department, is not an amount of money to sneeze at. >> can we talk more about this and the european initiative? are these savings designed to bolster that effort? do you expect that $500 million a year you'll be able to continue to redirect that annually toward the eri? >> totally separate processes. this effort is over two years in the making. and the eri is, of course, something that president obama asked for these additional funds last summer from the congress. certainly, greater efficiencies help -- these savings help. but they're disconnected. the $1 billion. nearly $1 billion we've received from our congress at the end of last year will enable us to have some infrastructure improvements in facilities that we use for
our rotational presence particularly in central and eastern europe. also a robust exercise schedule. separate processes, but i think savings is savings. and although they're not directly connected the more efficiencies we can get out of our system and the less that we are spending money on things that we judge are obsolete, the better off that we'll be and more able we'll be to spend money on the -- things we believe will be more consistent with pursuing our interest in the future. >> to an extent will you be able to redirect these savings to your knowledge? or will these end up body cuts? >> they're not connected. not connected. >> should we expect another round of -- you said there would be more basing decisions? >> we're not planning an eic 2, per se. but my point is that this was not the first time anybody looked at european infrastructure. this was not the first time that any installation was returned in europe. and it won't be the last time
that anybody looks at european infrastructure. >> and if i could just add, this is an evolutionary process. just as we have been undertaking this effort to take a close look at the existing infrastructure, we've been looking at how to upgrade new infrastructure to support our efforts in central and eastern europe. so a lot changed from a year ago. and who knows -- who knows what 2015 will hold here. >> to ask craig's question, a little bit of a different way. you said the process is going on for more than two years. how did the process change at all after russia invaded ukraine? >> i can speak to that. obviously, when events occurred in the ukraine, we took a look and asked the question to ourselves, you know, should we pause this? we decided to continue with the analysis because the going in conditions were not particularly
affected by the events going on in the world. the question that we are asking ourselves is how can we do the same thing for less money? that question's still pertinent. we weren't talking about reducing our ability to conduct the mission. we were talking about our ability to do that same mission for less money. and that was an effort worth continuing. we conducted. we then decided to complete the analysis and allow the secretary to decide whether to go forward in whatever the current context would be at that time. and approved the recommendations we came up with. >> have these decisions all been communicated to the host countries? >> yes. we have been, as i mentioned in my opening statement we've been engaging with our host country counterparts throughout this entire process. and secretary hagel has been doing so at all of his meetings with the affected countries. and just yesterday he had these phone conversations with the four countries that are most affected by this. and it's been an open process so far, and we'll continue this as
these get implemented. these changes aren't going to happen overnight. it'll take some time and we've committed to work with these countries as much as we can to help mitigate some of the down sides. there will be job losses in that countries that will affect local communities. and we have an interest in doing what we can to try to help them mitigate the negative consequences of this. >> i'll fill you in with politico. one quick follow-up and a question. first, can you tell us when you expect to know where in italy this next batch of f-35s will go? you said the first two will go -- when will the department know where in italy the next aircraft will be deployed? >> we have made a decision on the next round yet. there has been a decision for italy to host a maintenance facility. that was announced last month for the f-35. but the future deployment decisions have not been made. >> and with respect to brac and the department's request for congress for more rounds of
brac. do you believe, does the department believe this will strengthen its hand politically in going back this year with the budget and asking for brac again because you'll be able to say we've consolidated in europe and want to turn our attention to the united states? >> i think so. i think that's a fair statement. congress has raised several issues with regard to brac in the past. one of which was please look at what your access is overseas before you start looking at the domestic installations again. this was in part in response to that. and i think it was a responsible effort that we can go back to congress with. >> christina from the hill. just a clarification, mr. conger. when you say it won't be the last time people look at european infrastructure, does that mean reducing or not necessarily so? i know you mentioned adding some infrastructure in eastern europe. and then also, my question would
be how much will it cost to close the facilities? and when do we expect to see the savings? >> yeah. so two parts of your question. let me answer the first one first. i wasn't to a particular action. you can look at the f-35 basing as a separate non-eic action that is a basing action that occurred in parallel at the same time. we're announcing it today, but it wasn't part of our analysis. that's the case in point. with regard to cost we project a cost of about $1.4 billion over the entire time period to implement the closures to go along with the half a billion dollars in recurring savings. that's a pretty good payback. i would say slightly more than a third of that is military construction. so it's not like we're building 1 $1.4 billion worth of buildings to accommodate this.
it's a smaller figure. >> there will be 500 million in savings. when will that start? >> the full implementation of the recommendations is expected by the early 2020s, i would say, just after 2020. these are -- the smaller recommendations will be implemented more quickly. the larger ones will take more time. the entirety -- you will see entirety of the recommendations ss ss and all of the savings in five or six years. >> i believe you said in the u.k. there would be a downsizing of 3,200 jobs. then you would bring in 1,200. what kind of jobs are being eliminated? the 1,200 is that related to f-35? >> overall, on the specifics of the jobs being consolidated as well as the new jobs, i'm going
to have to defer to ucom colleagues. on the f-35 issue, we have a colleague here today. i'm not sure where he is. he can follow up with you specifically on some of the decisions. >> do you have a break down of how many military and civilians are being affected? >> i don't. that's an issue you can follow up with them on. >> if we contact ucom they have all this information available? >> yeah. >> you said that the current force levels of active duty troops is 67,000. do you have a number overall for what it would be at the end of all this? also, can i ask you to talk a little bit more about the rotational presence? is there any long-term plan to have that rotational presence there beyond the 12-month time line? is that something that will just be addressed on an annual budgetary basis? >> at the end of this process
our numbers of forces in europe 67,000 will be roughly the same. it's not always exactly 67,000. it will be roughly the same. in terms of the rotational presence, the intent is to continue this rotational presence into the future. in fact, some of the infrastructure improvements where he seek doing as part of the european assurance initiative, will enable to continue the rotation by building facilities that would allow troops to live and work. that's our plan. of course, we're going to, over time, have to seek funding for that. as things change in europe, things get better or perhaps things get worse we may adjust accordingly. we probably will adjust accordingly. >> can i ask does that plan call for the rotational troops to be moving into eastern europe from existing forces or did you plan to know whether that would be troops coming from outside?
>> i don't think that's planned yet. i can say rotations that have occurred up to now have been both from within europe as well as from the united states. >> could you just elaborate on why you decided to close molesworth and mendenhall? >> i know ucom is going to be speaking to the specifics of any of the individual recommendations. the analysis looked at excess capacity capacity. it looked at military value. we were trying to make sure that the assets that we needed were at the locations that had the highest military value that was based on a complicated numerical -- a lot of factors. the result of that allowed us to collapse the assets to other
locations. and to recommend divestiture of that installation. the molesworth recommendation, i will speak to a little bit more because we -- it's part of -- it was part of last year's congressional budget request to start the construction at krauten. and to collapse the intelligence activities from molesworth. so that's a self-contained set of recommendations into collapsing multiple locations into a single one in the same geographic area. >> is this plan -- do you have to go to congress for approval? is this something you can move forward with immediately? >> congress always has the right to decide what we get appropriated. by definition, that's going to be -- congress will have a role
in anything that we do. the decision to close an installation overseas is not a particular one that you need quote unquote permission from congress. but that doesn't mean we haven't been talking to them for the last two years about each step of the way and working with the committees and to tell them what we could about the analysis as it was ongoing. do we need an authorization legislation from congress? no. will we need the appropriations in order to ak tu ate the moves? yes. >> you mentioned several time zs some infrastructure improvements. you take and you give. i'm curious, if you give us some examples of the kinds of things that you were adding even as some of the other installations that date back years are going away. >> first to repeat, we have
67,000 troops stationed in europe. we have a robust force presence. we have a significant infrastructure presence. what we're seeking to do is gain greater efficiencies in that infrastructure presence that will enable us to stay there for the future. in terms of the infrastructure improvements, this is, for example, building or augmenting barracks on existing bases in europe that our troops are currently rotating through to exercise with our european counterparts. building certain facilities. up to this point, our troops have been -- who have been rotating true have been piggybacking on existing facilities that aren't perhaps necessarily up to the capacity that they can carry. that's the kinds of things we will be seeking to do that will enable down the road to continue our rotational presence but at a
lower cost. >> having to pay for solutions to housing people? any transportation infrastructure in terms of -- >> i will get back to you on the specifics. i don't have those with me. >> we have time for a couple more. >> i'd like to ask about you how the eic process changed like marcus asked when it changed when russia invaded ukraine. this started out as an infrastructure exercise. then you had russia and ukraine and allies calling for more capability. i'm wondering if at any point you considered increasing the capability. you said you are not decreasing it. is it fair to look at this announcement today as a policy decision by the department or a strategic decision that europe does not need more u.s. military capability? is that essentially a separate
discussion occurring elsewhere in the department? >> i guess two thoughts. first, in terms of what changed i would argue that the urgency of the eic became more apparent because as we were move focused on maintaining our force structure in europe, we needed to take a close look at infrastructure and ensure we were spending our money wisely. the general who has released a statement this morning in support of this -- the recommendations was very clear to us that he wanted to protect force structure. he wanted us to take a look at infrastructure. i think that if anything over the last year, it has been -- it has put more focus on our necessity of having savings. i would argue that the purpose of eic is a reaffirmation of having a robust force presence
in europe. the importance of the transatlantic relationship to us. in order to ensure that we're able to be there for the future and we have the funding and resources to be there for the future, we need tone sure to ourselves, to the congress to the american people that we are there as efficiently as we can be. >> final question. thank you very much for coming. the air force is gracious enough to provide an expert here to talk about the f-35 basing if anyone has any questions to that. i thank you for your time. folks, thank you for coming. that concludes our briefing for today. agriculture secretary and missouri governor join representatives of food and agriculture companies and members of congress to talk about ending the u.s. trade embargo with cuba and advancing open trade and