tv Newsmakers CSPAN May 4, 2014 6:00pm-6:31pm EDT
some really rotten characters in the family. >> she argues that too little remembered victorian sisters change the course of women's rights. >> joining us on "newsmakers," senator john hoeven, republican of north dakota and member of the senate energy committee. joining us for the questioning is matthew daly, who covers energy and environmental issues for the "associated press," and niels lesniewski, staff writer for "cq roll call." this week, the senate is taking up, presumably, the keystone xl pipeline. you are at 57 votes. how do you get to 60? >> it is a challenge because the democrat leadership in the senate and the white house are pushing back hard. i have got a bill that approves the project. we updated it. we have 56 sponsors for that
legislation. i have maybe a couple more votes, but getting to 60 is going to be a real challenge because of the hard push from the white house. >> if it passes in the senate, what does this do for the state department and the white house in its decision? >> this would approve the project under the clause in the constitution, which gives congress the authority to regulate or to oversee commerce with foreign nations. we have done the research and found out congress has the authority to approve the project. we approve it congressionally rather than having the president approve it. >> how much pressure is the chair of the energy committee facing? you are smiling. >> we have every single republican senator on board. we have got 11 democratic senators who have signed on the legislation.
there may be one or two more we think will vote with us. beyond that, we have maybe's. understand, this is an important project to our country because we need infrastructure as part of our energy development. it is important to louisiana because they have refineries down there that need the oil this pipeline brings. >> one of the reasons the president delay the project was because there is uncertainty about the route to nebraska. there are questions as to whether or not that route will be allowed. how do you approve the project when you do not know the route? >> the issues are unrelated. the own decision that has to be made by the president, and congress, is building the
pipeline in the national interest? that is the decision. we have already rerouted once in nebraska. the litigation in nebraska now is simply about who makes the decision in nebraska on that route. should be the legislature and the governor who made the current decision, or should it be the public service commission? that is the argument within nebraska about who gets the final say. if the court decision is overturned, nothing changes. i talk about the decision in nebraska, now at the damascus -- the nebraska supreme court. nothing changes and the route is already determined. if they uphold the decision, it is up to the pfc to determine if the root holds or if they want to make an adjustment. it really has nothing to do with the decision made at the federal level. >> another objection raised at the local level is not only nebraska but oklahoma in other states with the pipeline goes
through. although it down to texas from canada. transcanada has trampled on the land owners rights and sees the property. are you concerned about individual people whose property has been taken for the rochester? -- for the project? >> yes, i am most concerned about rights. as far as the root itself -- route itself, they need to be respectful and work for them. they are working out terms but if there are any disputes, people have to be dealt with fairly and property rights properly respected. >> looking ahead to the senate
debate this week, the keystone pipeline issue is coming up in conjunction with energy efficiency bill that has bipartisan support and is sponsored by your colleagues from new hampshire and ohio. there are a number of other energy related amendments and proposals that republican senators would like to offer in connection with that legislation. as far as where things stand on the broader question of the energy debate, the senate republicans would like to have it and whether or not harry reid will allow that. >> i spoke with senator reid yesterday. this is an ongoing investigation. where we are right now is we will proceed with the bill next week and we will vote on that tuesday morning and i visit date we will proceed on that bill and
then there will be a vote on keystone following our work on energy efficiency bill. immediately following the energy efficiency bill. i am not sure how all of this will work out. there are a number of amendments we would like to offer. we would like an open amendment process. that is what serves the american people best. senator reid is indicating the amendments that have already been negotiated on the energy efficiency bill are the ones that will take up, not additional amendments or open projects. we will proceed. >> is there a possibility the energy efficiency, broader energy efficiency amendment process, if it does not go forward, that republican senators may oppose to limit debate and then term -- turn to the keystone matter despite the energy bill not passing?
>> went -- whether the bill will pass i think is impart on whether there is some willingness to allow reasonable amendments and a reasonable process. that may well determine the fate of the energy efficiency. i have got amendments in that bill and i think they are very good. you've have got to get some open process. i believe either way we will then proceed to keystone xl. that has been what we have been able to in essence force. senators on the legislation put together. >> with this at all the issues you deal with, how would you assess his leadership style in terms of how he runs the senate? >> the biggest problem is we are not allowed, as a minority party -- republicans have 45 members in the senate, but we are not allowed in open amendment
process. we understand you have your vote and if you get enough votes, your issue passes and if not, it does not. the senate has oh is been a place where we protect energy rights and have the debate and build consensus because that is what best serves the country and that is how you get the best legislation for the country. we are being denied the open amendment process. very good ideas are not getting an opportunity to have a hearing and a vote. it looks like we may be able to force that on keystone, but again, it is not happening on a regular basis and it should. >> you had problems with whether senator reid has allowed debates or not on amendments. there is a republican senator of louisiana who has an amendment
related to obamacare. even other republicans have said that is not really germane to the energy efficiency bill. are you aware that has delayed the process? >> i think we have been able to work through that and provide a strong enough push that we are able to get to a keystone vote. if we had an open process, then the senator and others would not be forced to try to get the boat because they would have an opportunity to bring that issue forward and vote on it. that is exactly the problem i'm getting at. >> speaking of amendment processes, the senate may actually begin work on appropriation bills for the first time in a fairly long time. you serve on the appropriations committee. i am curious because the debates come up in the last couple of days about the congressional earmarking.
there is a letter being circulated within the last few days urging a continuation of the moratorium. i am curious where you stand on whether or not there will be earmarks on spending bills written by the appropriations committee. >> there has got to be full open transparency and disclosure but congress has to work to make these decisions about where the dollars are sent and how. everything has to go through a full open process not only in the committee but also on the floor. that is how you address the whole issue of earmarking in a way where congress fulfills its rightful role that best serves the public and where we are able to actually prioritize spending and not only reduce spending to cut things that should not be funded. again, you have got to have a transparent process.
congress has been to find savings and make determinations with full transparency and full public accounting. >> in terms of that transparency as well as on the broader question of the latest senate operates in terms of amendments, has there been any conversation yet about, if they turn to appropriation bills, whether the military bill or whatever it may be, would there be a more open amendment process in that realm then we are seeing in other legislation question mark -- legislation? >> appropriations are the best way to force that to happen. i am a member of the appropriations committee. i am very supportive of trying to get these bills through the committee and to the floor because it is very hard for the majority party not to allow an
open amendment process on the appropriation bills. that is the best way for us to force a lot of these votes and issues to come to the floor and make people address and vote on them. >> i want to go back to your earlier point about who has the authority on this pipeline. much of the debate is focused on the state department and the president making his decision. can you clarify the question on authority because if the senate passes the measure and if it passes in the republican-controlled house, then what? >> under the clause in the constitution, congress has the authority to make this decision. typically, it is always been a presidential, national interest determination decision. clearly, the president does have the authority to make a decision, but he now says he will delayed indefinitely. it is a situation where we are in year six. for more than five years, the president has refused to make a decision.
we are now in year six. 70%, in the latest poll, 70% of the american people very much want this project approved because they want the jobs, they want the economic growth, they want the energy, they want the national security of producing our own oil here and working with canada, rather than importing oil from the middle east. congress has the authority to do so. it is time for congress to step up and do it come even though the white house, the president is pushing back and saying to stay out of it. that is why we need to move forward and act. >> an issue about oil trains, something that is happened in the last few years. the whole issue of pipelines has come up. they have been transporting oil on trains now. we have had several accidents, including one in canada were 47 people were killed. this week and last week in lynchburg, virginia, oil came from north dakota. what do you think about that in
terms of, the dot has not really been pushing these regulations to make the cars more rugged. what should be done about that and what can we do? >> over a year ago, i contact the department of transportation and said, you need to get updated regulations so the industry knows what they need to do to get tank cars out on the track. you need to give them certainty. i have been working on this for a long time. it brings up the importance of the comprehensive solution to our energy growth. we need the infrastructure to move it to market cost-effectively and safely. that means more pipelines as well as rail capacity. you have got to have infrastructure to get us to energy independence. it is the infrastructure that goes with it.
that is why these pipelines are so very important. they take some of the congestion and load off doing it all on rail. rail safety is about moving forward with their tank cars. it has got to be about mitigation, making sure if an accident happens, you reduce the risk of fire or explosion, and it is about response. you also need the pipelines and other infrastructures to make this work. >> do you think the administration is moving quickly enough on these regulations? >> no. as i said, i have started pressing over a year ago. i worked with secretary fox and he has made it a real priority. he has moved the regulations forward. i have already talked about getting those regulations out. they have a 90-day window to do it here this has to move. >> you seem to have a whole
variety of issues on your plate at any given time. i am curious, because i was talking to a colleague of mine yesterday in advance of this interview who said, "do senators from north dakota just happened to always have a lot of issues on their plates?" your predecessors always seemed like they were similarly, as when you were governor, engaged in a variety of issues all at the same time. is there something about the people that north dakota elects that puts them in all sorts of different places at the same time? >> i think a lot of senators are involved in a variety of things. right now, energy is such a big issue for the country because we truly have an amazing opportunity. within a short window, we could be energy secure or energy independent, which means we
produce more than we consume. energy is a foundational industry for all the other pipes -- types of businesses it an industry to grow as part of a strong economy. it is also very much a national security issue right now. as we look at what is going on in eastern europe and russia and the ukraine and eu, part of developing a united front with the european union and dealing with the ukraine and russian aggression is the energy piece. they are so dependent right now on russia for the energy. look at the middle east and our involvement in iraq and afghanistan and our dependence still on oil for the middle east. that is a national security issue. we have a real chance to break the chains of energy from interests different from our own. we need to seize it.
look at what is going on in my state of north dakota. we have the lowest unemployment, and the fastest-growing state in the country. our economy is diversifying but, again, we are very strong in terms of energy production. this con -- in this country has the same opportunity and we need to seize it. >> that growth issue, your population is about three quarters of a million in north dakota. would your population exceed -- 1 million people because of the growth in energy areas? >> that meets -- means more housing, more schools, that means all the infrastructure and all the things we have to do to maintain our quality of life. the challenge he we have right now -- the challenges we have right now is to have good paying
jobs and also maintain that quality of life, making sure it is still a safe environment, good schools and all the things we historically have had. >> we have about five minutes left. >> the growth in north dakota has been tremendous in the last three years. the second-biggest oil producing state in the country, the fastest-growing. i guess the oil trains and the pipeline issues, it seems like there are infrastructure issues that get to safety as well. it is about safety for the environment. another issue that has come up is the flaring of methane gas. when they are drilling for oil, they are getting so much oil as a byproduct, they get natural they just burn that off. they call it flaring. are you concerned about that? that has become a big pollution problem. >> safety and environmental issues. we need markets for the gas so we have got to be able to export.
we need the pipeline into infrastructures to get that gas to market and then we need to be able to export lng so we have markets for that gas. that is better for the environment. safety, we just got done talking about the derailment issues. -- rail issues. all of these things tie together. >> it can be done safely, because there are some people who look at that as a basic concept has, is that a safely to transport oil? >> we also need the pipeline infrastructure to go with it. in the case of the keystone xl pipeline, the state department's environmental impact statement said very clearly, no significant environmental impact. if we do not build the pipeline, that is 1400 rail cars a day to move that oil. you want to talk about safety, you need the right mix of infrastructure. keystone alone will take 500 trucks a day off some of our western highways.
that is an infrastructure issue and a safety issue. >> when you talk about infrastructure, and you mentioned the schools and the airport upgrades needed to deal with the expanding population you have a north dakota, how much of that is done at the state level and the local level versus how much federal investment is needed for some of those projects? >> it used to be it was more federal investment. the ratio was higher with federal dollars coming in. it is now much more state investment because of the growth of our state and because, with the growing economy we have, even though we reduced taxes, we have more revenue because we have a much larger and growing economy. >> let me go back to the chairman of the committee. you were smiling when i asked you about her because she is facing a tough reelection bid. how critical is this to her own survival in louisiana? >> it is very important to her. she is working on this. the key is that we can get more
democrats. we are in high 50's, but we need to get over the 60 trip -- the 60 threshold. it is not easy. this is a very important project for her. >> the pressure democratic leaders are putting on people? >> we have less greenhouse gas emissions with the project than we do with it. it says so right in the state department's own environmental impact statement. it is better with the project, and yet, some of the extreme in the environmental community are pushing back. when you look at the facts, not only from a safety perspective but from an environmental perspective, we are better off to build the project. >> is the president for or against the pipeline? >> he is against it. we are now in year six. he has delayed it six years and he has come out and said -- and he put this out more than a week
ago -- on the afternoon of good friday, trying to minimize the press coverage he will now delay it indefinitely. he is trying to defeat it through endless delays. >> i have a question related to grazing issues. what your take is on the standoff out of nevada with the rancher, cliven bundy, who, from the federal government passes point of view, he owes a million dollars in grazing fees and penalties. from other people's point of view, he is standing up for property rights. >> my grandfather had a cattle ranch and we spent time there when i was a youngster. i have great admiration and respect for cowboys who work the land, farmers and ranchers. private property rights, i am a strong advocate. very important in our state. but also the rule of law. people have to be dealt with fairly but, we have to honor and respect the rule of law.
>> you think he should be paying the penalties? >> i think i have tried to give you the balance that has to occur in our society. we have to respect private property rights and defend them strongly, but we all have to follow all of the law. >> last question, just on a completely different subject. you are ranking member on the legislative branch appropriations subcommittee. how is the capitol dome reconstruction project going and everything that is important to the folks actually working in the capital, looking for the year ahead? >> i was hoping you would ask that question. thank you. maybe that is something you will get a chance to do a piece on. we are totally refurbishing the capitol dome.
there are 1300 cracks and various types of problems with the dome that, if we do not do this now, we could lose the dome as we have always had it historically. i do not know if it will fall down but in terms of maintaining the dome with all the historical materials, this is something that must be addressed. you can imagine water is getting in there and eroding it and starting to create real problems. we have got $60 million to appropriate to completely refurbish the dome and make sure it is there for future generations. this is a symbol of not only freedom and democracy in the country, but for the world. it is an amazing project and the architect of the capitol is doing a great job. sometime i think your viewers would love to get the inside view of what is going on. it is an amazing project. the architect is doing a great
job. i think your viewers would love the inside view on what is going on. >> we will take you up on that. when will the project be completed? >> it has to be done before the next inaugural because you do not want big scaffolding and everything up over the dome, which you will now see, obviously, so they need to have it done by the next inauguration. the presidential inauguration. they have a deadline they have to meet and we are working to make sure they stay within budget as well. >> thank you for being with us. >> thank you. >> we continue the conversation with niels lesniewski and matt daly of the "associated press." you brought up senator vitter. mary landrieu is pushing the keystone xl pipeline for a number of reasons. explain what is going on in that state. >> senator vitter, who is running for governor, and senator landrieu are not really very close. you could get either one to talk pretty negatively about each other. that is unusual in the delegation. usually the parties speak pretty respectfully of each other.
they do not like each other politically and i think the senator, in addition to making his points about obamacare, also can maybe help bill cassidy, who is running against her for senate. >> what is your take away from our conversation today? >> aside from the fact that they clearly -- the keystone xl pipeline approval supporters like the senator clearly do not have the 60 votes they would need to overcome the filibuster hurdle at this point, he said that there are 56. we have heard there may be 57 and maybe a couple of others on the fence you're getting to 60 -- fence, but getting to 60 will be difficult. the other thing we have learned is senator hoeven is of the belief the keystone vote will go forward even in the energy efficiency vote fails. -- if the energy efficiency vote fails. that is not something we have heard too much previously. they sound like they think they
have an agreement in hand, that they will be able to get their vote, if not in the coming week but the week after that. >> part of the reason was -- you voted on the bill, which gives the senate democrats a victory. it is a victory for the democrats because it is something senator reed has wanted to do for a long time. it's been blocked a number of times, including by senator vitter earlier. you have got to give us this vote on keystone. the fact that they are separated may be news. >> the white house and the state department continued to sit -- to insist there is a process. we heard from senator hoeven today that the president is opposed to the keystone xl pipeline. my question is, if that is the case, how much pressure is he facing from more liberal members of his party? >> he has said he has not decided on this.
you can guess the number of obama officials and former officials, including the former national security adviser, a lot of people have said they are in an -- in favor of the pipeline. he is facing pressure from the liberal wing of the party to block it. tom, a billionaire environmentalist out in california, said he wants to spend $50 million to make -- change a major issue in the midterms and a major issue within that is the keystone pipeline. >> bottom line, what will happen this week in the senate? >> it will at least take up the energy efficiency bill. if there is a debate, and whether it will pass, if not, the energy efficiency bill will go down. >> your expectation is? >> i cannot make predictions on
that because we do not know. the bill on its own would pass but nothing in congress is simple and easy. if the keystone issue gets in the way, it could go down. >> matthew daly of the "associated press," niels lesniewski, gentlemen, thank you for joining us. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] book, an's newest collection of interviews. war, the beginning of the you are afraid of holding the gun. when we went to the first battle and we fought and i shot somebody, kill somebody, it does something to you. difficult in the beginning. after time went on, it became easy. it became normal.