The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

No Unnecessary Delays on Keystone XL

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted July 27, 2011

Why not just wait? That's the administration's response to House legislation that would require a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline by Nov. 1. The administration says its Dec. 31 deadline is soon enough. But, considering the project's vast economic and energy benefits, here's a better question: Why wait any longer than necessary?

Why wait on jobs - 20,000 U.S. jobs during the 1,700-mile pipeline's construction phase alone? Why unnecessarily delay, by even a week, a $13 billion project the Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI) says will help fully utilize Canada's oil sands - projected to support 600,000 new U.S. jobs by 2035 and more than $775 billion (Canadian dollars) in GDP from 2010 to 2035?

At the same time, why wait on bringing more oil from our No. 1 foreign supplier? Why unnecessarily delay a project that will bring up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day to U.S. refineries? Why not take steps now that will secure America's energy future, one in which 92 percent of our liquid fuel needs would be supplied by the U.S. and Canada by 2030?

Opponents say a State Department decision on approving the project shouldn't be rushed, that there are questions about its safety and reliability. Nonsense. The Keystone XL has been studied and debated for going on three years - compared to the normal approval process of 18 months to two years. API Executive Vice President Marty Durbin spoke to reporters this week:

"There's been extensive review, extensive opportunities for state and local governments, environmentalists and landowners all along the pipeline to voice their concerns. ... It is time to move forward so that we can create jobs and further strengthen our relationship with America's number one trading partner and number one source of imported oil, Canada."

Why wait? There are compelling arguments against unnecessary delay. New jobs and secure energy await a decision that's taken too long already. Questions have been answered, concerns addressed. The pipeline will feature state-of-the-art technology, will deliver oil like the oil already flowing through existing pipelines and will be well-monitored.

Finally, let's be candid: Canada's vast oil sands resource is going somewhere, Keystone XL or no Keystone XL. China is signaling interest. If the United States doesn't want this oil, it'll have no trouble finding a taker. We need the jobs and the energy. Durbin:

"At a time of stubborn unemployment when Americans across the country are clamoring for work, even contemplating saying no to this project should be out of the question."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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.