The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Keystone XL and Possibilities

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted May 15, 2013

Lots to like in President Obama’s remarks earlier this week from New York:

“When it comes to energy, not only have we been able to double our production of clean energy, but even in terms of traditional energy, we will probably be a net exporter of natural gas in somewhere between five and ten years.  And so the idea of the United States being energy independent – which seemed far-fetched as recently as 10 years ago – now is actually a possibility.”

As well as those from Texas earlier this month, where he talked about job creation and driving economic momentum:

“… we've got to make America a magnet for good jobs. … And even as we’re working to reverse the trend of communities that have been hard hit with old manufacturing leaving, we’ve got to propose partnerships with local leaders in manufacturing communities to help attract new investment in the infrastructure and the research that will attract new jobs and new businesses, so that communities that have been knocked down can get back up and get back on their feet. And we’re poised for a time of progress – if we’re willing to seize it. … American energy is booming.  But we’ve got to keep moving forward, and we’ve got to make sure that Washington is not administering self-inflicted wounds when we’re making progress.”

 KXL Goldstar Jobs

There’s a nexus between energy, jobs and moving forward. It’s the Keystone XL pipeline.

The president is right: We shouldn’t administer self-inflicted wounds in the midst of progress. America is experiencing an oil and natural gas renaissance – thanks to the game-changing development of vast shale reserves with hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.

Abundant supplies of natural gas could support our domestic needs as well as demand from friends overseas. Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency said this week that U.S. oil production will be the main driver of global supply growth over the next five years.

Sustaining this energy boom hinges on access to U.S. reserves, smart regulatory oversight that doesn’t unnecessarily chill investment and development and visionary leadership that sees America’s oil and natural gas wealth as the key to our energy security.

The Keystone XL pipeline is a critical, available piece of an all-of-the-above energy strategy because it will put Americans to work, help grow our economy and strengthen our partnership with our largest source of imported oil, Canada. Yet, the full pipeline project remains on hold while the administration works its way through another review – extending a process that has taken more than four years. In terms of energy, shovel-ready infrastructure, jobs and economic growth, delaying approval of the Keystone XL is the definition of a self-inflicted wound.

Here’s what’s being delayed, according to the most recent State Department analysis:

  • 42,100 average annual jobs across the United States over the pipeline’s one- to two-year construction period.
  • $2.05 billion in employment earnings.
  • $3.3 billion in direct spending on construction and materials.
  • $65 million in short-term revenues for government from sales and use taxes in states that levy them.

Check out this video that describes the kind of broad economic impact the pipeline already is having in Cushing, Okla., where the southern leg of the project has been under way:


Americans understand the Keystone XL pipeline’s value to our economy and energy security. They’ve said so in poll after national poll:

  • Pew (April 2013) – 66 percent favor the full Keystone XL’s construction.
  • Rasmussen (March 2013) – 58 percent favor.
  • Harris Interactive (February 2013) – 69 percent.
  • Fox News (February 2012) – 67 percent.

The country is ready to get on with building the full pipeline. Further delay is delayed benefit to the country. The pipeline will bring 830,000 barrels of oil a day to U.S. refineries. Most of that will come from Canada, but about 25 percent will come from the Bakken region of the U.S.

If we build it - if the president will end the delaying and agree with ample evidence that the project is in our country’s national interest – and is a key to the economic growth he seeks.


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.