Officials from the American Petroleum Institute and TransCanada applauded action taken by the 114th U.S. Congress to begin the approval process for the Keystone XL pipeline project.
In November 2014, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the project but it was the U.S. Senate that defeated the measure by one vote Nov. 18, 2014. At that time, many pundits speculated that when the new Republican-controlled Senate convened the long-stalled pipeline project for TransCanada would be at the top of the agenda.
Jan. 6, bipartisan legislation was introduced in Senate to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, the much-needed transport mechanism for oil sands oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
TransCanada President and CEO Russ Girling issued a response to the legislation, which is expected to be voted on Jan. 9. The statement reads:
TransCanada is greatly encouraged by the introduction of bipartisan legislation in the new U.S. Congress and the support of lawmakers who continue to make Keystone XL a legislative priority. Today’s announcement represents not only a political coalition, but also the strong will of two-thirds of Americans, who have consistently expressed support for Keystone XL in a series of 29 public opinion polls over the past three years.
Five studies and 17,000 pages of scientific review have led the U.S. State Department to conclude the project can be built and operated with minimal environmental impact. Delaying Keystone XL will continue to increase greenhouse gas emissions and force more oil to be transported by less safe means such as rail. Rising oil production in both the U.S. and Canada means Keystone is needed more than ever. Lower oil prices will not have any impact on how much oil is used by Americans, or the eight to nine million barrels of oil imported by the U.S. every day. In its simplest terms what Congress will be talking about is a single 1,179 mile pipeline out of what is currently 2.5 million miles of oil and gas pipelines in the U.S.
Like the existing Keystone pipeline that has safely transported more than 700 million barrels of the same oil to U.S. refineries since 2010, the Canadian and American oil transported along Keystone XL will stay in the U.S. and be refined into products we need like gasoline, diesel, pharmaceuticals, medical devices like heart valves, other plastics and countless other items. Those who argue this pipeline is for export are not being factual. Why on earth would Canadian and U.S. companies pay to ship their oil to Gulf Coast refineries, then pay again to ship that same oil overseas, only to pass tankers bringing millions of barrels of oil into America? It just doesn’t make any sense. That was the exact conclusion of the U.S. State Department in its Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement issues in January of 2014 which states: ‘such an option (exports) appears unlikely to be economically justified for any significant durable trade given transport costs and market conditions’.
In fact, every barrel of Canadian and American oil transported by Keystone XL that replaces imports from the Middle East and Venezuela improves U.S. and North American energy independence.
Like the 14,000 construction jobs that were created to build the existing Keystone system, there should be no discounting that for the nearly 9,000 men and women who will ply their trades to build this project and more than 42,000 in total across the American supply chain, these jobs are very real and meaningful. Nor should there be any question that for families living along the route that hundreds of millions of dollars in annual earnings and property taxes for local roads, schools and other critical infrastructure will make communities stronger and better places to live.
Keystone XL is a project that was needed when oil prices were less than $40 in 2008 when we first made our application, more than $100 last year, or $50 today.
We can’t think of an initiative that better embodies the historically strong Canada/U.S. trading partnership than an $8 billion private sector project – one built with the hands of Americans and Canadians, transporting Canadian and American oil to be used to fuel the everyday lives of the American people. Keystone XL is in the national interest of the United States.
We look forward to the debate and ultimately a decision by the U.S. Administration to build Keystone XL.
“Middle class jobs matter and lawmakers are acknowledging that in a big way by kicking off 2015 with KXL,” said API President and CEO Jack Gerard. “Forty-two thousand good paying American jobs are at stake and our nation needs to build critical energy infrastructure now for the energy demands of the future.”
He adds, “We are confident a Keystone XL bill will be sent to the president’s desk and we urge him to finally say yes to this job creating project.”