Key supporters, media call for U.S. approval of Keystone XL Pipeline Project.
Reducing dependence on imported oil from overseas, putting thousands of skilled Americans to work and injecting millions of dollars into local economies are among the many benefits of approving the Keystone XL Pipeline. And calls for the $5.2-billion project to get underway after more than four years of review got louder this week as supporters gathered in Washington, DC to argue that the pipeline remains vital to the national interest of the United States.
“The quality and commitment of those standing with us demonstrates how vital this project is to U.S. national energy security, the economy and the average American worker,” says Alex Pourbaix, TransCanada’s president of energy and oil pipelines. “Approval of Keystone XL hinges on one fundamental fact: does the U.S. want its oil from a friendly neighbor in Canada and domestic sources like the Bakken play, or does it want to continue to import higher-priced foreign oil from nations that do not support U.S. values – it is that simple.”
Pourbaix joined representatives from the National Association of Manufacturers, Veterans in Piping, the United Association, the American Petroleum Institute, the US Chamber of Commerce and Michels Corp. – the primary contractor responsible for the current construction of TransCanada’s Gulf Coast Project – on Tuesday to outline the facts behind the project that is currently under review by the U.S. Department of State.
Besides supporting long-term U.S. energy security, Pourbaix pointed out that TransCanada is currently employing 4,000 American workers building the Gulf Coast Pipeline Project in Texas and Oklahoma – welders, mechanics, electricians, laborers, safety coordinators, heavy equipment operators – and hopes to employ another 9,000 building Keystone XL.
“Working on the Gulf Coast Project has afforded me a good income that allows me to support my family” said Michels employee and member of the Operating Engineers Local 139 Billy Rogers. “In addition, the construction of this project has had a significant impact in the local communities in which we work as the hundreds of crew members spend their money locally in restaurants, grocery stores, shops – everyone is benefiting. Contrary to what people may see or read, as a front line worker on the Gulf Coast Project, I have personally witnessed the support from the local residents we deal with daily during construction. They are happy to see us.”
Keystone XL will provide a lifeline for thousands of construction industry and trade union members across the country.
“With over 50 per cent unemployment in our Pipeline Construction sector, Keystone XL Pipeline Project stands as the largest single private investment opportunity for a path back to a paycheck for our members”, said United Association Special Representative David Barnett.
Veterans in Piping Training Specialist Mike Hazard said: “As a veteran, I know first hand the anxiety of returning to my family and community after serving in combat and uncertain how I will make ends meet.”
“The UA’s Veterans in Piping initiative is training veterans returning from Afghanistan and other far off places for jobs on the Keystone XL pipeline project. If Keystone XL isn’t approved, the U.S. will continue to rely on oil from unstable regimes instead of strengthening our relationship with Canada. Continuing to rely on oil from unstable political regimes would be counter intuitive to the values and ideals that inspire the volunteer spirit of the American military.”
The U.S. consumes 15 million barrels of oil each day and imports eight to nine million barrels. Both the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the International Energy Agency have forecast imports will remain in the 3.5-7.5 million barrels per day range well into 2035 – the need for oil remains strong. Keystone XL and the Gulf Coast Project have the capacity to displace 830,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) of unstable foreign crude oil. We have dedicated 250,000 bbl/d of capacity to U.S. production – a critical need for states such as Montana and North Dakota.
“If you want to know why Americans are frustrated with Washington, you only need to look at Keystone project and the inexcusable bureaucracy and red tape,” said National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons said.
“In the State of the Union address and on the campaign trail, President Obama spoke a great deal about economic recovery and an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy policy. It’s beyond time for those words to be met with action. In a struggling economy, we must not pass up clear opportunities to create jobs and jumpstart growth. The Keystone XL pipeline will create thousands of manufacturing jobs while providing a supply of affordable energy to enhance manufacturers competitiveness. Keystone XL has been held up for far too long – we need approval immediately.”
“There is strong public support for Keystone XL,” American Petroleum Institute Executive Vice President Marty Durbin said. “A recent poll we conducted reports that 69 percent – more than two-thirds – of registered voters support building the pipeline. There’s also strong support among elected officials. A bipartisan majority of U.S. Senators and a bipartisan group of 146 House members have recently written to the president calling on him to approve the project. Labor groups are also on board. The Keystone XL pipeline project just makes sense and should be approved without further delay. ”
Numerous influential media outlets have also expressed their support for Keystone XL in recent weeks, with many pointing out that opposition to the project is based largely on exaggerated and inaccurate claims about the climate change impacts of crude oil produced in the Canada’s oil sands. The respected science journal Nature, for example, points out that heavy oil from California produces more greenhouse gas emissions.
“We agree with President Obama when he said last week we need to transition toward more sustainable sources of energy and greater energy independence. That’s why TransCanada has invested over $5 billion in emission-free energy. But a complete transition to renewable energy will take decades,’ Pourbaix said. “Through continuous technological improvements, oil sands producers have reduced per barrel emissions by 26 per cent since 1990. Alberta, where the oil sands are located, is the only jurisdiction in North America that has a carbon tax and the Canadian federal government has committed to phasing out all coal-fired power facilities.
“Keystone XL is the most studied cross-border pipeline ever proposed,” Pourbaix concluded. “It remains in America’s national interests to approve a pipeline that will have a minimal impact on the environment.”
More recent editorials supporting Keystone XL:
“The environmentalist case for the Keystone pipeline,” Bloomberg, Feb. 19, 2013.
“Build Keystone pipeline: Our view,” USA Today, Feb. 18, 2013.
“How not to fix climate change,” by Joe Nocera, New York Times, Feb. 18, 2013.
“How Obama might OK pipeline,” by Gerald Seib, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 18, 2013.
“8 reasons America should welcome Canada’s oil – and Keystone XL,” by Diane Francis, Financial Post, Feb. 15, 2013.
“Keystone protests resume, but none against oil imports from Nigeria?” by Andrew Revkin, New York Times, Feb. 14, 2013.