VIDEO: Senator Lankford Advocates for a Pro-Growth Energy Strategy in America

Lankford: “For whatever reason, we can't sell crude oil around the world. That makes absolutely no sense, and we should fix it”

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WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) delivered a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate tonight to advocate for a pro-growth energy policy in America. During the remarks, Lankford pointed out the President’s flawed justification for rejecting the Keystone XL Pipeline, as he did in a fact-checking blog op-ed over the weekend.  Lankford also made the case for lifting the ban on oil exports.



On the Keystone XL Pipeline:

But I have to tell you this last weekend, as I'm going through all different news and the many things that we track, I was quite surprised last Friday afternoon at the way that the President addressed something that this nation has discussed for seven years, a pipeline permit. A permit called the Keystone XL Pipeline. It's not a revolutionary thing, and, quite frankly, Mr. President, let me show you something. These are all the pipelines that currently exist in the United States. Right now there are 19 international crossings of pipelines already coming into the United States, either from Canada into the northern part of the United States or from Mexico and from the south. There are already 19 of them. This would just be a 20th pipeline. There's nothing different about that. There are 60,000 miles of crude oil pipeline in the United States right now. There are about 63,000 miles of refined product pipeline. And you want to go to natural gas, about 300,000 miles of natural gas pipeline already in the United States. Yet this pipeline is treated like some radical, new invention that we've never considered a pipeline before. Well, what surprised me so much wasn't that 2,600-plus days that this permit request sat on the President's desk. What surprised me was his reason for actually deciding to then not do the permit. That was the surprising part. And, quite frankly, last Friday afternoon, as I heard the reasons, I went back and read the transcripts and these were the three reasons the president gave.

He said, number one, the pipeline wouldn't make a meaningful long-term contribution to our economy. And he encouraged us to pass a highway bill instead because it would provide more jobs. I don't remember ever discussing and saying this pipeline is going to provide as many jobs as highways. That's never been discussed on this floor. And it's apples and Oranges. A highway bill is public funding. It's the taxpayers that actually fund transportation and we should do highways and transportation. This is a private project that was never intended to be as many jobs as a highway. It's a pipeline. -- It's not going to provide enough jobs and sews not going to permit it.

The second reason he gave is the pipeline would not lower gas prices for American consumers. And he said gasoline prices are already low and so we don't need this pipeline. As if gasoline prices don't rise and fall and we shouldn't plan for the future. Do you want to know why gasoline prices are low right now? It's because over the decades, Americans have done this and we have an efficient system of moving energy, which, by the way, the pipeline is "The" safest and "The" least expensive way to be able to move energy around our country. So what the president is saying is, what we have is enough. I don't want to plan for future anymore. I don't want to look for what's going to help our children. Our prices are low enough. I don't care what our children pay in the future days. Well, that's absurd.

But, quite frankly, the third one is the one that was the most jarring to me. So I want to be able to say the statement to you. Reason number three the president gave was shipping crude oil into our country from unstable countries would not increase America's energy security. Let me read that to you again because I was so stunned by it. Here's exactly from the president's speech off of the White House site, this is what the President said. He will not permit the Keystone pipeline coming from Canada into the United States, off this statement, he said. “Shipping dirtier crude oil into our country would not increase America's energy security. What has increased America's energy security is our strategy over the past several years to reduce our reliance on dirty fossil fuels from unstable parts of the world." Now, as I heard the President say that, I was a little taken aback because I don't remember any other president referring to Canada as an unstable part of the world.

That we don't want to get our energy from an unstable country and saying Canada was that country. So I kept reading to and rereading it thinking, maybe he was implying something else. But the problem with that is, he either means that Canada is an unstable country and we don't want to be reliant on them to get energy, or he's saying the Middle East and other countries are not unstable and we don’t want to rely on them and so maybe we should buy from Canada instead. Either way, it makes absolutely no sense. But in its context, as I read it and read it and read it, but the president in his statement is saying we don't need a pipeline because Canada is unstable and we don't need oil from unstable countries. I will tell you that since the war of 1812, we've gotten along with Canada pretty well. We seemed to have settled our differences about 1815 and they've been a very stable trading partner for us. And it seems nonsensical to me to hear the president say because it doesn't produce enough jobs, I'm not going to permit it. Because it won't affect the price of gasoline today, I won't permit it. And because Canada is unstable as a trading partner, I'm not going to permit it.

The President can choose to do whatever he chooses to do, but answers like this make no sense to the American people. And they make no sense to energy country when we understand full well the actual facts on the ground.

On Lifting the Ban on Oil Exports:

In recent days we've actually started an energy swap with Mexico. Many people may not even know that. You see, all oil is not the same. Heavier crude oil is preferred by many of our refineries in the United States. Quite frankly, our refineries are capable of separating out more of the different minerals and such that are within heavy crude or what's often called sour crude. So our refineries prefer the heavier crude much like what Canada produces, many parts of the United States, Mexico produces. Many refineries in Mexico prefer the light sweet crude. We have more light sweet crude in America than what we can use and what our refineries prefer to have. So, in the past couple of months Mexico and the United States have a swap, through pipelines, that they're picking up 75,000 barrels of light sweet and swapping 75,000 barrels of heavier crude, because they have a commodity we want and they have -- and we have a commodity they want.

That is how we could solve some of our energy issues. We should actually look for what’s most efficient, whether it is purchasing it from a pipeline in Canada, which makes great economic sense to us, or whether it's exporting our oil anywhere else around the world, whether it’s from Mexico or any other country. This body knows full well that the United States cannot sell our oil on the world market because we have a statute in place that believes that we're running out of oil rather than we have a tremendous amount, which is what's actually factually true. And we have particular types of oil like sweet crude that many refineries around the world want, and we actually have more of it than we can use.

We should sell that. We should put that on the open market. It's cleaner, it's easier to refine and it's a way to be able to stabilize jobs in the United States. I have been in front of this body time after time with a simple statement. We can sell unleaded around the world. We can sell diesel around the world. We can sell coal around the world. We can sell natural gas around the world. But for whatever reason, we can't sell crude oil around the world. That makes absolutely no sense, and we should fix it. Tens of thousands of Americans have lost their job because this body has not acted on something as simple as being able to sell a product the world wants and we have on the world market. It's fixable. It's not about environmental disaster. The world is going to use oil. 

Even the administration, and quite frankly, even the president in his own speech made this statement last week. "The truth is the United States will continue to rely on oil and gas." So will the world. Until some other solution is out there, which no one sees currently on horizon, we're going to continue to use oil and gas. Why don't we do it the cleanest way possible? Why don't we provide American jobs while we're doing it? It's a fixable thing. It shouldn't be divisive. It's about putting Americans back to work and about helping our economy. With that, Mr. President, I yield back.