Keystone XL Opponents Argue Pipeline Would Carry More 'Carbon Intensive' Product

Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, said “energy vulnerability equals geopolitical vulnerability” and the question was whether the U.S. will get oil from Canada or other countries that “don’t share our democratic values and principles.”

After committee Chairman Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) repeatedly pressed Harbert on whether the Chamber of Commerce believes man-made emissions are driving climate change, she replied, “We believe we should be doing everything within our power to address the environment" before agreeing that "the climate is warming, without a doubt.”

She added that climate change is caused by “lots of different things and you cannot say it’s only caused by humans.”

“We have a robust debate going on in this country, as we should, and those that say everything is settled undercut the integrity of science,” she said. “This is an ongoing discussion.”

Hansen told Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) during another heated exchange about climate change that “no one said it was all man-made.”

“However, the man-made effect is now dominant,” Hansen added.

Johnson, though, said “the science is far from settled.”

The State Department will determine whether the proposed project is in the national interest. The State Department’s review of Keystone’s environmental impact includes whether the pipeline would lead to more carbon-dioxide emissions.

State Secretary John Kerry told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee Thursday that the evaluation should wrap up in 60 days if it continues without delay. Kerry, a longtime environmental advocate, said that he would approach the issue with a clean slate.

“I’m not at liberty to go into my thinking at this point,” he said. “It’s just not appropriate, except to say to you that I am approaching this, you know, tabula rasa. I’m going to look at all the arguments, both sides, all sides, whatever, evaluate them and make the best judgment I can about what is in the national interest.”