The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Upon Further Review Again

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted August 25, 2011

According to the Washington Post, the State Department's latest environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline - like the department's previous assessments - will say the $7 billion project will have limited impact. If the Post is right the favorable report seemingly would move the administration a step closer to approving the Keystone XL - that is, accepting the limited possibility of relatively minor environmental effects while embracing the jobs and energy the pipeline is likely to deliver. The Post reports:

"The State Department will remove a major roadblock to construction of a massive oil pipeline stretching from Canada to Texas when it releases its final environmental assessment of the project as soon as Friday, according to sources briefed on the process. The move is critical because it will affirm the agency's earlier finding that the project will have 'limited adverse environmental impacts' during construction and operation, according to sources familiar with the assessment who asked not to be identified because the decision has not been made public."

For folks keeping score, this would be the third review by State that has found no environmental reason to reject the Keystone XL. (There was an initial review in April 2010 and a second this past April that basically affirmed the first. Again, if reports are accurate, we're about to get an affirmation of the affirmation.)

Three reviews or 300, it's probably not enough for most pipeline opponents - who, judging by what they say, are more opposed to the Canadian oil sands crude the Keystone XL would bring to U.S. refiners than the pipeline itself.

Now there's talk of how the administration should reject the pipeline for "symbolic" reasons, another way of saying that absent sound public policy arguments to reject the Keystone XL - and with it the creation of 10,000 well-paying jobs immediately, 85,000 by 2020 and upwards of 830,000 barrels of oil per day from a secure supplier - they'd like it vetoed anyway.

The administration should deal in facts, not symbolism. The Keystone XL is an integral part of an energy strategy in which 92 percent of our liquid fuel needs could be supplied domestically and from Canada by 2030. It would mean jobs for an economy desperate to have them, from an industry that has demonstrated the ability to create them.


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.