November 16, 2014

So we've heard every fossil fuel industry-backed, right-wing talking point that Fox News happily regurgitates about the Keystone XL Pipeline. Well one of the lead climate change fighting Senators wonderfully disproved every bull shit lie about this pipeline. Above is the video of Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D. RI) schooling Fox News' Chris Wallace and pro-pollution Senator John Thune (R. SD). But here's the transcript:

WALLACE: There was action but no resolution this week on climate change. The Senate is set to vote Tuesday on a bill passed by the House directing the government to finally move forward on the Keystone pipeline.

And President Obama reached a deal with China to cut greenhouse gas pollution in both countries.

Joining us to discuss all of this, John Thune of South Dakota, chair of the Senate Republican Conference, and from Rhode Island, Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse, a member of the Senate Environment Committee.

Senator Whitehouse, you are one of the leading environmentalists in the Senate. In fact, you make speeches on the subject almost every week on the Senate floor.

Have you been assured by the White House that if the Senate goes ahead and passes the Keystone approval, that the president will veto it?

SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE, D - RI, ENVIRONMENT & PUBLIC WORKS CMTE: Our information is they are leaning that way, but I don't have a hard assurance.

WALLACE: And how confident are you that, in fact, he will veto it?

WHITEHOUSE: I hope and expect that he will. I think it's important to send that signal right off the bat. I think the new Republican majority has long despised and denigrated this president. And if they can roll him, I think they would like to. And I think it's important for him to set the stage early on this, particularly when the stakes are so high for climate, for the environment, for the damage that the pipeline will do.

WALLACE: Senator Thune, the Democratic leader in the Senate, Harry Reid, has blocked any vote on the keystone pipeline for years. Is it your belief that he's finally agreeing to this vote to help Mary Landrieu, who's in a runoff in the Louisiana Senate race for the early first week in December, with a show vote on this, with a full expectation that it's going to get vetoed by the president anyway? That in fact, this is all political?

SEN. JOHN THUNE, R-SD, REPUBLICAN CONFERENCE CHAIR: Well, sure it is, Chris. And this is John Hoeven's bill. He introduced this bill. He's been trying to get a vote on it now for years in the Senate.

WALLACE: We should point. He's a senator from South Dakota.

THUNE: A senator from North Dakota.


THUNE: He's my colleague from north of the border.

But the point is, this is a cynical attempt to save a Senate seat in Louisiana. If the Democrats were serious about this, we would have voted on this years ago. I mean, this thing has been hanging around now for six years. There's been five environmental impact reviews of the Keystone pipeline, all of which have come back and said it would have minimal impact on the environment. The president's own State Department says it would support over 40,000 jobs. In my state of South Dakota, 3,000 to 4,000 jobs, $100 million in earnings, $20 million in property tax revenue. This is an issue, a no-brainer in the eyes of the American public, which finally, finally is coming to the floor of the United States Senate not because they're worried about American jobs, but because they're worried about the job of a senator from Louisiana.

WALLACE: Let me -- let's drill down, if you will, into the merits of the Keystone pipeline. President Obama was pretty defiant about the pipeline and his approval for it this week in Asia. Let's take a look.


OBAMA: I have to constantly push back against this idea that somehow the Keystone pipeline is either this massive jobs bill for the United States or is somehow lowering gas prices. Understand what this project is. It is providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land down to the Gulf where it would be sold everywhere else. It doesn't have an impact on U.S. gas prices.


WALLACE: But let's take a look at the facts. The State Department says the project would create 12,000 direct and related jobs near the pipeline, perhaps tens of thousands more further away from the pipeline. It's not just Canadian crude, as the president said. It also would carry 100,000 barrels a today from Montana and North Dakota.

Senator Whitehouse, oil markets are global. If you put more supply into any part of the system, it's going to lower prices at least marginally everywhere. The president is wrong at a bunch of these points.

WHITEHOUSE: Well, the different is that the tar sands is probably the filthiest fuel on the planet, and when you add that into the equation, you dramatically increase the effect of carbon pollution and of greenhouse gases. Now, our friends on the other side won't agree that any of this is real. They will never treat climate change seriously. And so, they just look at the one side of the ledger, which is a bunch of jobs.

And I think it's 4,000 direct jobs, which is good. I mean, I'm not going to under -- you know, to try to deprecate that. But we're growing at 200,000 jobs a month in this economy. And the last environment and public works bills for the highways would have been 1.8 million jobs.

So, this is no jobs game changer. And I should correct one thing -- Harry Reid twice offered votes on Keystone on the Shaheen bill, and the Republicans refused to allow those votes because they didn't want the Shaheen to pass before the election. It would have been good for her in New Hampshire to have passed a major piece of bipartisan legislation like that.

WALLACE: Let me --

WHITEHOUSE: So the Republicans had the chance to vote on Keystone and turned it down.

WALLACE: Let me bring in Senator Thune.

Let's talk about this issue of the pollution, because the argument against the pipeline is that the kind of Canadian crude we are talking about here, oil from tar sands creates 17 percent more greenhouse gases than typical oil. And at full capacity, the pipeline would create as much carbon pollution as 5 million new cars on the road.

Your -- what's your answer to that, sir?

THUNE: Well, in 2011, Chris, what the State Department said is that the oil coming out of Canada would replace the same type of oil that's coming in from Venezuela. And remember, this is -- Canada is going to produce this oil. It's just a question of whether we're going to benefit from it or the Chinese are going to benefit it.

And you add to that the fact that the light sweet crude oil coming out of the Bakken in North Dakota, 100,000 barrels of that can go in the pipeline on a daily basis, which takes pressure of an already stressed rail system, is making it more different for people in -- producers in my country to get their agricultural commodities to the marketplace.

It isn't a question of whether or not this is going to get done. It's going to get done. Canadians are going to produce the oil. The only question is whether or not America is going to benefit from it and we're going to get the jobs that come with it, and whether we're going to replace the oil, the same type of oil that's coming in from Venezuela, which is what the State Department said this project would do.

WALLACE: All right. Let's talk about the other big development this week --

WHITEHOUSE: Chris, we actually dispute that --

WALLACE: If I may, because we need to move along, I know we could continue this debate for a long time.

WHITEHOUSE: Sure. But put me on record as disputing the facts there, because I don't think Senator Thune was accurate.

WALLACE: You are duly noted as disputing the facts, Senator Whitehouse.

WHITEHOUSE: Thank you.

WALLACE: The president also announced a climate deal with China this week. And let's take a look at that. The U.S. would emit 26 percent to 28 percent less carbon in 2025 than it did in 2005. China agrees to cap its carbon emissions by 2030 when it says 20 percent of its energy will come from clean sources.

Here's how Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell reacted to this deal.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, R-KY, SENATE MAJORITY LEADER-ELECT: As I read the agreement, it requires the Chinese to do nothing at all for 16 years while these carbon emission regulations are creating havoc in my state and other states around the country.


WALLACE: Senator Whitehouse, aren't we, in the terms of this deal, committed to doing just as Mitch McConnell says, a lot more than the Chinese?

WHITEHOUSE: In order to reach that 2030 target, the Chinese are going to have to build a clean energy portfolio that is as big as the entire U.S. energy fleet. So, between now and 2030, they're going to build an immense amount of clean energy. That's actually going to be good for American suppliers into those projects. A lot of this is American design.

So, nobody is going to build that much capacity on New Year's Eve of 2030. The minority leader, now soon to be majority leader, is just wrong about that.

And in terms of the havoc that the so-called regulation of all of this claim to create by the minority leader, you know, in Rhode Island, we're seeing the havoc from the carbon pollution. We're seeing the havoc along or coastlines, houses falling into the sea. We're seeing the havoc with fishermen going into the sea and finding fish that their parents and grandparents never saw before. As one said to me, it's getting weird out there, Sheldon.

WALLACE: Senator Thune, briefly, because I want to move on to immigration. But if you can in about 30 seconds or so, when 97 percent of scientific papers say that human activity does add to climate change, without getting into all the details, don't we have to do something?

THUNE: Well, look, climate change is occurring, it's always occurring, Chris. There are a number of factors that contribute to that, including human activity. The question is, what are we going to do about it and at what cost?

And what the president agreed to was a bad deal. It's all pain and no gain for the American people. It's one-sided. It's nonbinding. There's a hope that someday down the road, the Chinese might, might actually reduce, at the same time the United States reduces its reductions or makes reductions twice at what we're planning right now. And what that means is, 90 percent increase in utility rates for people, low-income people in places like South Dakota.

And I guess what I would say to that if you trust the Chinese on something like this, I've got some oceanfront property here in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for you, because this is one-sided, and it is a nonbinding deal that we have agreed to, and I don't expect that we're ever going to see China agree to it in the end.

Can you help us out?

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