The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

To the President’s Ear: Build the Keystone XL

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted May 8, 2012

In an interview with Fox Business Channel this week, billionaire Warren Buffett voiced support for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline:

"I’m not an expert, but it certainly seems like it makes sense to me. There are an awful lot of pipelines running in the United States and net, they've certainly been a huge plus for the country. … Based on what I know, I would say it makes sense.”

That the “Oracle of Omaha” supports the Keystone XL is significant. That Buffett’s support for the project follows similar opinions by others known to have the president’s ear is important as well. These include:

Former President Bill Clinton (Feb. 29, 2012):

“I think we should embrace [the Keystone XL pipeline] and develop a stakeholder-driven system of high standards for doing the work." 

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (May 6, 2012):

“[America’s unions] are not divided on the pipeline itself. They are divided on how the pipeline is done. … I think we are all unanimous by saying we should build the pipeline, but we have to do it consistent with all environmental standards, and I think we can work that out, I really do, and we are for that happening.”

Former Obama "car czar" Steve Rattner (Jan. 5, 2012):

“My instinct is [the president] should approve it. My instinct is we need the energy, we need the jobs and it can be done in a safe way.”

Let’s see. That’s one of the most successful businessmen in the history of the planet, a former president, one of organized labor’s top leaders and one of the administration’s former leading economic policy advisors – all in favor of the Keystone XL, a project that would create jobs, deliver energy and help boost our country’s future energy security.

The president is the reason the Keystone XL remains on the drawing board. He has the authority to end more than three years of reviewing and delaying. API Executive Vice President Marty Durbin, in a conference call with reporters:

“We’d like to remind the president and the Congress that bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate have voted in favor of the Keystone XL project, and a recent Gallop poll shows strong public support for project by a 2-1 margin.  In addition, the state of Nebraska is fully engaged in a process to quickly choose a new route that avoids sensitive areas. To borrow from the president’s campaign, it’s time to move forward on this critical project.  Keystone XL is as ‘good-to-go’ as it gets.”

To recap: Buffett, Clinton, Trumka, Rattner. The president has listened to them before. Is he listening now, on the Keystone XL?


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.