Rep. Barton: U.S. ‘Fought and Won WW II in Less Time’ than Obama Had to Evaluate Keystone Pipeline

By Pete Winn | January 25, 2012 | 7:55pm EST

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas.(AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

( - Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) took aim Wednesday at the State Department official dispatched to Congress to explain why President Obama shelved the Keystone XL pipeline – telling her that the U.S. had “fought and won World War II” in less time than the administration had spent weighing the Canada-U.S. pipeline deal.

Assistant Secretary of State Kerri-Ann Jones told the Energy and Power subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that the State Department had rejected the deal because it did not have enough time to assess the pipeline.

Barton, a Texas Republican, tried to zero-in on which part of the project the State Department was most concerned about – asking Jones if it was building the pipeline, its operation or an anticipated catastrophe.

“Our concern at this point, sir, is that we did not have time to do the analysis,” said Jones, who heads the Bureau of Oceans and International Environment and Scientific Affairs.

“All of the dimensions of the analysis that you have been talking about we have been studying,” she said. “Certainly the spills certainly the issues around construction and operation. But the reason the decision was taken was because we did not have--”

But Barton, who had already pointed out that the administration had 40 months to examine every aspect of the project, rejected the answer, interrupting Jones.

“Well, we fought and won World War II in less time than it’s taken so far to evaluate this project,” Barton said. “I mean, with all due respect, it is an insult to the American people to say that you need more time.

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“There are 10 other agencies that have reviewed this project and – correct me if I’m wrong, but my understanding is that the Corps of Engineers approved it, the Department of Agriculture approved it, the Department of Interior approved it, the Department of Transportation approved it, the Environmental Protection Agency – believe it or not – approved it, the Defense Department approved it; the Justice Department approved it, the Homeland Security Department approved it and the Department of Commerce approved it. Only the State Department, which I believe, by law is required to look at the International implications since its trans-Canada -- only the State Department did not approve it.”

House Republicans, meanwhile, have introduced a bill designed to circumvent the president's denial of the mammoth pipeline, designed to bring oil extracted from shale in Canada to the U.S. Keystone XL pipeline, by putting the decision in the hands of Congress.

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