The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Keystone Pipeline: The Sooner, the Better

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted April 21, 2011

There's no doubt that American consumers will continue to need oil and natural gas in the years ahead. All credible energy forecasts, including those by the federal government, make that point quite clearly. There also is a need to ensure the security of oil supplies to keep the economy functioning.

It's really quite simple - secure and affordable supplies of oil keep the economy running, create jobs, and support this nation's standard of living. And that simple statement makes a strong case for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline extension which, if approved by the State Department, would carry Canadian oil to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries.

If that's not enough justification for approving the pipeline, the State Department also has released a new study affirming an earlier report which concluded the pipeline would meet environmental and safety standards. As reported in The Wall Street Journal, the supplemental draft environmental-impact statement says there were "no new issues of substance."

In a news release issued today, API called the environmental report "a positive indicator for eventual approval of the project." API's refining issues manager Cindy Schild said, ""We urge the administration to turn aside any additional efforts to delay this important project...The pipeline has passed every analysis and review over the last two years, while additional American job creation and economic growth from this important project are delayed. We need to expand our energy relationship with America's number one source of imported oil: Canada."

Consider the potential energy security impact of the new pipeline. It could mean that the U.S. refineries would process an additional 830,000 barrels of oil a day. Investing in Canadian oil sands will also produce more than 340,000 U.S. jobs and generate about $34 billion in revenue for the U.S. government, according to an economic analysis by the Canadian Energy Research Institute.

"Nearly 1000 U.S. businesses in 47 states already provide services, materials or equipment to Canada in support of oil sands development," Cindy said. "The finished pipeline will be a lifeline to nearby Canadian supplies of crude oil for U.S. workers and for businesses and families that depend on secure and affordable energy."

The State Department initially was expected to rule on the pipeline this spring, but the decision was delayed after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asked the State Department to conduct a new environmental study due to concerns about drinking water. As AP reports, the study says previous experience from "oil line releases in shallow groundwater areas ... indicates that the impacts from even large spills would likely be limited to localized groundwater contamination that would not threaten the regional viability of the aquifer system."

An Energy Department study has stated that the pipeline "could essentially eliminate Middle East crude imports longer term," which could reap tremendous energy security benefits for all Americans. The State Department has indicated that it will announce its decision on the pipeline project by the end of the year. To that we say, the sooner, the better.

Update - April 22, 2011: API today welcomed the support of Oklahoma Governor May Fallin and the state's two U.S. Senators James Inhofe and Tom Coburn for the Keystone Pipeline. They sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling for the expeditious approval of a cross-border permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. In a statement, API Executive Vice President Marty Durbin said, "The Keystone project has passed numerous analyses and reviews over the last two years. American pipeline workers are trained and ready to start work as soon as the government permit is issued."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jane Van Ryan was formerly senior communications manager and new media advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API), where she wrote blog posts and produced podcasts and videos. Before coming to API, Jane managed communications for a large science and engineering corporation, and for a top-tier research and engineering university. A few years ago, you might have seen her in your living room when she delivered the news on television. Jane officially retired from API in 2011 and now freelances as an independent communications consultant when not gardening at her farm in Virginia.