The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Keystone XL Opens New Push

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted February 17, 2017

The Keystone XL pipeline is on again.

A new president with a different view of America’s energy and infrastructure needs has the project advancing again. Late last month pipeline builder TransCanada submitted a new application for a cross-border permit with the U.S. State Department. This week the company applied for route approval in Nebraska – a key step for a project that will bring hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil daily from Canada and the Bakken region in North Dakota to Gulf Coast refineries.

And with it increased energy security, jobs and revenue to governments – all things President Trump recognized in issuing an executive order that invited TransCanada to resubmit its application with the State Department, while calling for expedited review by Washington.

Quick review: At issue is 327 miles of 36-inch diameter pipeline from Canada’s oil sands, through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska that would link with an existing pipeline that runs south through Kansas to the huge oil hub at Cushing, Okla., and then connecting with another existing pipeline that extends to the Gulf Coast.


Approval of the route through Nebraska is expected in 2017. TransCanada worked with officials in Nebraska on a route that avoids environmentally sensitive areas in the state, which the governor approved in 2013. The state’s Public Service Commission is responsible for final route approval. Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and CEO:

“This application has been shaped by direct, on-the-ground input from Nebraskans. The thousands of Nebraskans we have met over the last eight years understand the value of this project and what it means to the state. As we have said consistently, safety and a respect for the environment remain our key priorities. We are listening and acting on what we have learned.”

Keystone XL, which has enjoyed strong U.S. public support, represents tremendous opportunity – for energy, infrastructure, jobs and state and national economies, according to the final of five State Department reviews:

  • More than 42,000 jobs during the pipeline’s construction phase, including nearly 4,500 in Nebraska.
  • More than $2 billion in U.S. employee earnings, including $149 million in Nebraska.
  • Approximately $3.4 billion contributed to the U.S. economy.
  • About $55 million in incremental property taxes in the first year of the pipeline’s operation, benefiting local schools, hospitals, roads and more. Nebraska is projected to realize $11.7 million in local tax revenues in the first year.

In terms of energy, Keystone XL will strengthen the United States’ relationship with Canada, our No. 1 supplier of imported oil. Research underscores that continued development of Canada’s oil sands, which the pipeline would facilitate, is critically important to North American supply and U.S. security. The pipeline also will help support U.S. refineries, which have the facilities and technologies to process heavier Canadian oil.

The pipeline will be constructed under enhanced standards and will use cutting-edge technologies to optimize safety. These include corrosion-resistant pipe and construction welds reviewed by third parties and audited by federal officials. The pipeline will be monitored 24/7 with the help of information technology that will allow pipeline employees to isolate a section by closing any of the hundreds of shut-off valves on the system within minutes.

At long last the wait for Keystone XL appears to be in sight. That’s good news for workers, our economy and America’s energy security.


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.