Posted January 22, 2015
During his State of the Union speech President Obama talked about expanding trade and building up the middle class. Both good objectives. And, while a president’s annual message to Congress usually is full of goals that are mostly aspirational, both of these are attainable – through energy.
First, the president could work to end the ban on the export of domestic crude oil, a relic of the 1970s and an era of U.S. energy scarcity. A supply of light sweet crude, mismatched for a refinery sector largely configured to handle heavier crudes, would be able to reach overseas markets. This would help support domestic production and jobs – many of them well-paying middle-class jobs – while benefitting our trade balance.
Likewise, the administration could stop slow-walking approvals for planned U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities to export LNG to non-free trade agreement nations – again, spurring domestic production and jobs and improving America’s trade bottom line.
Both would increase the U.S. presence in global energy markets – expanding world supply, helping allies and strengthening American foreign policy – all consistent with our country’s status as an energy superpower.
Second and more specifically, the president could approve the Keystone XL pipeline. It’s needed energy infrastructure that would bring more than 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Canada and the U.S. Midwest, support tens of thousands of U.S. jobs – good middle-class jobs – and help strengthen the U.S. energy/trading relationship with Canada, our No. 1 source of imported oil.
Posted January 22, 2015
The Bakken Magazine: “Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.”
This is the dreaded phrase on the “Go to Jail Card” that you’ve likely drawn, or at least heard of, when playing the game of Monopoly. Drawing this card is an all-around bummer. You lose a chance at scooping up valuable property before others do, you don’t get to collect $200 that you might need to purchase property, and it increases the chance that you lose the game. But at least it’s just a game. Right?
Wrong. What many people probably don’t realize is that we’re in a real-life game similar to Monopoly, but this one is focused on the global oil market, not property. And, it just so happens that we’re stuck holding the “Do not pass Go” card.
Posted January 13, 2015
The federal approval process for cross-border pipelines (and there are many) historically has taken 18 to 24 months, yet the White House says that more than six years isn't enough time to determine whether the Keystone XL pipeline is in the national interest.
Perhaps the State Department can help them out with analysis that argues that infrastructure of this nature is in the national interest – a point grasped by a strong majority of Americans in the Keystone XL debate – which seems to elude the White House. Now, if the White House doesn’t want to listen to what its own State Department says about infrastructure, maybe another voice will be more persuasive.
Posted January 10, 2015
Throughout the Keystone XL pipeline’s long wait for federal approval, President Obama has used one excuse after another to deflect responsibility for blocking a project that polls in the 70s with the American people, one that would support thousands of U.S. jobs and help move the country closer to North American energy security. All along the way the president could have exercised his authority to say yes to all of the above but deferred instead.
The president said environmental questions needed answers, and they were provided by his own State Department, which cleared Keystone XL in five separate environmental reviews.
The president said the cross-border approval process – required because Keystone XL would cross the U.S.-Canadian border – needed to run its course. It did and then some, stretching now to more than six years when historically, cross-border approvals are granted in 18 to 24 months.
The president said Nebraska needed to work out the pipeline’s route through that state, which it did. Then the president said the state’s Supreme Court would have to settle a legal challenge over the re-routing process.
On Friday, Nebraska’s high court rejected that challenge, confirming the assessment of the state Department of Environmental Quality and the governor’s recommendation to the State Department – leaving the project with only one remaining obstacle: President Obama.
Posted January 8, 2015
With legislation to advance the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline moving ahead in the Senate, potentially attracting a misguided veto from President Obama, some important numbers:
76 – The number of months Keystone XL has been blocked by the Obama administration. Historically, approvals for cross-border pipeline projects take 18 to 24 months. Keystone XL’s history is something quite different – the story of how a shovel-ready infrastructure project was needlessly hijacked by politics.
830,000 – The number of barrels of North American oil per day that would flow through Keystone XL to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast, the vast majority of which would be turned into valuable fuel products.
42,100 – The number of U.S. jobs that would be supported during Keystone XL’s construction. That’s not industry’s number. That’s the number coming from President Obama’s own State Department. When he and others dismiss the project’s jobs impact, it reveals a serious lack of understanding of the way large infrastructure construction creates a positive ripple across the economy in terms of direct jobs, indirect jobs and induced jobs – all of which the White House fully appreciated when it was making the case for its federal stimulus package in 2009.
5 – The number of Keystone XL environmental reviews conducted by President Obama’s own Department of State.
5 – The number of State Department environmental reviews that have concluded Keystone XL would have no significant climate impact.
2 – The number of Pinocchios just awarded by the Washington Post’s Fact Checker to claims that Keystone XL will negatively impact the environment and that it would only be only a conduit for oil to be shipped overseas. (This follows the Three Pinocchios given to President Obama last fall for saying oil transported by Keystone XL would go “everywhere else” but the U.S. Bottom line, that’s a lot of Pinocchios.)
Posted January 7, 2015
The White House’s newly issued Statement of Administration Policy, announcing that President Obama would veto current, bipartisan congressional legislation to authorize construction of the Keystone XL pipeline does a couple of things.
First, it announces that the new era of cooperation between the president and the new Congress on issues that have consensus support – supposedly the mandate from voters in last fall’s elections – might be over before it starts.
Second, and no less serious, it shows that President Obama doesn’t listen – doesn’t listen to the American people, who broadly support the multi-billion-dollar, privately financed infrastructure that the president’s own State Department says would support more than 42,000 U.S. jobs during construction, generate $2 billion in workers’ earnings and add $3.4 billion to the economy.
Wrangling inside the Beltway isn’t new; Americans are used to that. But a president who stubbornly dismisses broad public opinion, as Mr. Obama is doing on Keystone XL, is concerning on a different level.
Posted January 6, 2015
The U.S. energy revolution is fundamentally empowering. There’s no better word for it. Because of resurgent American energy, our country has choices where the horizon once was filled with energy-based limitations.
Because domestic energy is more abundant, Americans have renewed mobility – literally, in the form of cheaper gasoline that’s largely the result of U.S. crude oil impacting global markets and economically, because of oil and natural gas industry-supported job creation and investment, and a manufacturing renaissance spurred by affordable fuels and feedstocks.
No less important: The United States is more secure in the world because we’re much less dependent on energy from adversarial sources. America's all-of-the-above energy potential is a powerful opportunity for the nation.
This is a special moment in U.S. history, the dawn of a new energy-driven reality that could sustain and grow American prosperity here at home and America’s influence in the world. It could – if we seize it.
Throughout his annual State of American Energy address, API President and CEO Jack Gerard struck the positive chords of possibility in an American energy era – possibilities dependent on our national leadership’s ability to support “smart, responsible and forward-looking energy policies that promote economic growth, job creation and U.S. energy security and leadership.”
Posted December 11, 2014
Near the end of his appearance on the “Colbert Report” earlier this week, President Obama tells host Stephen Colbert that getting things done is the real satisfaction he takes from his job:
“I love the job, and it’s an incredible privilege. But when you’re in it you’re not thinking about it in terms of titles. You’re thinking about how do you deliver for the American people?”
Ironically, the remark about delivering for the American people comes just a few minutes after the president offers up familiar excuses for failing to deliver for the American people on the Keystone XL pipeline. With Americans backing the pipeline by more than 3 to 1, it looks like President Obama isn’t listening to the people he’s supposed to serve – or is simply ignoring them.
The president’s Keystone XL rhetoric remains starkly at odds with the facts – including those proffered by his own State Department. State has completed five separate environmental reviews on Keystone XL over more than six years, all of which cleared by the pipeline. Whether President Obama is talking to business executives or cutting up with Colbert, he’s startlingly disconnected with fact on Keystone XL.
Posted December 5, 2014
Speaking to business executives earlier this week, President Obama lamented how long it takes to make infrastructure improvements in the U.S.:
“The challenge for infrastructure has been that … it’s hard to pay for things if you don’t have some sort of revenue stream. And I’ve been exploring … to see how we can do more in attracting private investment into infrastructure construction – which is done fairly effectively in a lot of other countries …”
Later, he praised the Chinese for how quickly they tackle infrastructure needs:
“… the one thing I will say is that if they need to build some stuff, they can build it. And over time, that wears away our advantage competitively. It’s embarrassing – you drive down the roads, and you look at what they’re able to do.”
For more than six years one of the largest infrastructure projects to come along in some time has been staring back at President Obama, waiting for him to say “go”: the Keystone XL pipeline.
By now many Americans – who favor Keystone XL’s construction by more than a 3-to-1 margin – probably can tick off the points arguing for the project’s approval.
Posted November 18, 2014
While the U.S. Senate fell just short of the votes needed to pass legislation advancing the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline, the issue likely will reach President Obama’s desk when the new Congress is seated in January. API President and CEO Jack Gerard:
“Keystone XL is not going away. The president will have to deal with it, if not now then next year – when existing bipartisan majority support for Keystone XL in both the House and Senate will only be stronger. We will work with the new Congress to focus on getting this important jobs project approved. We will not give up until the pipeline is built. The significant gains in jobs, economic growth, energy security and national security – which have been firmly established during six years of study – prove beyond any reasonable doubt that Keystone XL is in our national interest. The national interest question is the sole consideration before President Obama, and his failure to answer it is the sole factor standing between Americans and this shovel-ready infrastructure project.”
As the Keystone XL saga continues, opponents continue to offer up a familiar grab bag of myths, half-baked goods and distortions – all designed to keep the pipeline obstructed.
Nothing new, of course. Keystone XL’s merits have been established over more than six years of close public scrutiny, including five thorough environmental reviews by the U.S. State Department – all of which have similarly concluded that the pipeline would have minimal effect on the environment and that the crude oil it will deliver to the Gulf Coast would have no material impact on U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
The fact is Keystone XL has been studied, probed, examined, researched and analyzed like no other energy infrastructure project before it. There have been public hearings and hours of congressional debate. Through it all, Keystone XL has maintained strong support from the American people – 60 percent in a new USA Today poll.