The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Channeling the Keystone XL Pipeline

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted May 23, 2011

Greater access to secure energy and more than a half-trillion dollars in economic benefits right here at home: That's the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline. Unfortunately, the biggest question about the project - which would bring oil from Canada's oil sands region to U.S. refineries in Texas - is why it remains stuck on the drawing board.

The House of Representatives is working on legislation that would require the administration to grant a permit for the pipeline by Nov. 1. Given the benefits, you wouldn't think it would take an act of Congress to get things started. But deliberations over mostly old arguments are delaying a project worth an estimated $521 billion to the U.S. economy over a 25-year period, according to the Canadian Energy Research Institute.

What's the holdup? The State Department must sign off on the project before permitting can proceed. But opponents have been noisy, and in March the department announced Keystone XL would go through another layer of review, Politico Pro Energy (subscription) reports. Politico adds: "But the department's revised assessment concluded that 'no new issues of substance emerged' in the thousands of public comments it had reviewed.

The administration says it supports developing more American resources, which is commendable. But, as Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) said in the GOP's weekly radio address:

"It is not enough for the president to talk about producing energy in America. We call on him to put policies in place that cut the bureaucratic red tape and put Americans to work doing it."

That should happen with Keystone XL. The result? Access to a vast energy source (up to 1.1 million barrels of oil a day) and job creation this country. Here's API Executive Vice President Marty Durbin:

"U.S. jobs supported by Canadian oil sands development could grow from 21,000 jobs today to 465,000 jobs by 2035. The Keystone XL pipeline has undergone extensive analysis and review over the last two years and it is time to focus efforts on creating jobs and strengthening our relationship with America's number one source of imported oil: Canada."

Nearly 1,000 U.S. businesses in 47 states already are providing services, materials or equipment to Canada, Durbin says. People like these workers and community members in Illinois:

Once more from Paul Jeschke, farm owner: "To build a pipeline that would carry something we need from a friendly neighbor in Canada just makes good sense."

Additional resources:

Oil sands benefits to the U.S. economy

Oil sands facts


Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.