The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Sound Policy for a Sound Energy Future

Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted January 23, 2015

What Obama Should Have Said About the Keystone Pipeline

Forbes (Loren Steffy): President Obama didn’t say much about energy in his State of the Union speech Tuesday. Last year, he focused on energy issues more, and devoted much of the energy portions of his speech to natural gas.

This year, he acknowledged rising U.S. oil production and the benefits of cheap energy that have come with it, and then he made a backhanded reference to the Keystone XL pipeline.

In calling on both parties to support the infrastructure projects such as “modern ports, strong bridges, faster trains and faster internet,” he then encouraged lawmakers to pass a bipartisan infrastructure plan by saying: “So let’s set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline.”

Certainly, the Keystone pipeline has become a far greater political punching bag than a meaningful piece of infrastructure. Environmentalists have greatly exaggerated its role in climate change, and Republicans in Congress are now determined to push through legislation supporting it almost out of spite for the administration’s foot-dragging on a decision.

In brushing off Keystone as an aside, Obama missed an opportunity to illustrate exactly the type of 21st infrastructure needs he’s talking about. As the Senate begins debating the issue, it’s worth remembering that Keystone represents the sort of energy infrastructure into which we should be investing proceeds from the current oil boom.

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Mary Schaper is a Digital Communications Manager for the American Petroleum Institute. She previously worked on Capitol Hill for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as Digital Director and for Senator Lisa Murkowski. Before coming to D.C., she spearheaded digital strategy for Murkowski's successful Senate write-in campaign in 2010. Schaper enjoys traveling and taking in the local culture alongside her husband, their son and loyal springer spaniel.