The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

It’s Time for the Keystone XL Pipeline

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted January 21, 2013

With more than four years of study and review of the Keystone XL pipeline seemingly nearing an end, there’s yet another study depicting jobs and economic benefits – that is, if President Obama will approve construction of the entire project.

This report comes from Creighton University economist Ernie Goss and his team, who project more than 5,000 new jobs a year and millions of dollars in investment in Nebraska from construction of the pipeline. You can read the Goss report here, but a few highlights:

  • More than $580 million in direct spending by builder TransCanada during the project’s construction phase (2013-2014).
  • More than $570 million in spending during the pipeline’s operational phase (2015-2029).
  • An average of 5,517 jobs per year supported during construction, generating labor income of more than $950 million.
  • A contribution of $817.4 million in overall economic activity to the state (2013-2014).

These are big numbers in a key state along the project’s path. Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman is expected to decide soon whether to approve the pipeline’s revised route through his state. And the Washington Post reports the State Department may release a draft of its newest environmental review in the next few weeks.  API Downstream Senior Manager Cindy Schild to Fuel

“Approving the pipeline is a no brainer. It’s good for consumers, and it’s in our national interest to secure strategic oil supplies from our upper plains states and Canada that could otherwise be shipped to Asia.”

Actually, according to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Keystone XL is a “complete no-brainer.” Its approval is well overdue. Study and review, including three previous environmental assessments by State, each of which the project cleared, are their fifth year. The pipeline’s delay has meant delayed economic benefits for Nebraska like those identified by Goss, as well as broader benefits to the United States in terms of jobs, economic stimulus and energy security.

Even so, some continue trying to impede the pipeline – because they don’t like large energy infrastructure projects, because they don’t like oil sands crude the pipeline would deliver from Canada, because they generally don’t like industrial progress. The latest attempted delaying action is a claim the State Department’s environmental assessments didn’t consider petroleum coke, a petroleum product yielded by all crude oils. This is thoroughly rebutted over at Oil Sands Fact

After decades of analysis, and following over four years of review of the Keystone XL project, not one respectable life-cycle analysis of Canadian oil sands crude has proclaimed that petroleum coke – or petcoke – is a cause for concern. In fact, the State Department has concluded that Keystone XL would not result in a “substantive contribution to the U.S. or global emissions.” On the contrary, the pipeline could offset as many as 200 ocean tankers per year, potentially reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by as much as 19 million metric tons.

The studies have been done. Questions have been answered. The Keystone XL is clearly in the national interest and should be approved by President Obama. The result will be jobs, economic development and a strengthened energy relationship with friend and ally Canada.


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.