One of the biggest victims of the over three year debate concerning the Keystone XL Pipeline has been the facts. Opponents of the project have consistently used misinformation and the politics of fear to try and persuade the general public that Keystone would cause all life to cease as we know it. It sounds fanciful with a strong tinge of hyperbole but really isn’t too far from reality.
The basic, fundamental fact our opponents will never talk about and avoid at all costs is U.S. oil import forecasts from the experts – those who know their business very well and have the credibility to back up their statements. Both the U.S. Energy Information Agency and the International Energy Association predict the United States will remain a net importer of oil into 2040 – that’s 27 years from now. So the fundamental question has been and still remains: get the oil from Canada or get it from the Middle East – it’s that simple.
In an effort to put the facts on the table, TransCanada has started a paid media campaign in Washington. The ads run the gamut of TV, radio, print and on-line. The theme is simple: Keystone XL creates jobs and long term energy security for Americans, while transporting crude oil safely and responsibly.
Watch TransCanada’s television ad
And while our opponents trumpet false claims with respect to our pipeline, likely making last minutes edits to op eds over their petroleum-based cell phones, or jetting to far flung locations to shoot their latest anti-KXL YouTube video – jet fuel comes from oil does it not? – American construction workers are left to wonder if they will ever get a crack at supporting their families by building Keystone. Temporary construction jobs matter too, no matter how much the American worker is maligned by our high profile opponents.
As we enter a new phase of debate, with much hand wringing and statements of apocalyptic Armageddon from professional activists who have made a very lucrative career out of opposing Keystone XL, the over five year approval process for the pipeline keeps churning and churning – over 1,800 days with seemingly no end in sight.
Alex Pourbaix is TransCanada’s president of energy and oil pipelines.