Keystone Oil Pipeline Contruction - North Dakota; Copyright © TransCanada Corporation. All rights reserved.
The TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline Project had been the source of much controversy during President Obama’s first term. Opposed by environmental groups, touted by the energy industry, the debate is endless. The Governor of Nebraska had to address to pressures from environmental interest groups in 2011 and ultimately denied a pipeline siting permit for the project that stalled the remainder of the planning.
Beyond state siting issues, the US State Department must also issue a Presidential Permit for the project (because it crosses international borders). The President has enjoyed the cover of the state of Nebraska’s delay since 2011, but that delay is now over. On January 22, 2013, Governor Dave Heineman gave approval for the pipeline’s siting through Nebraska. The new path avoids the controversial “Sand Hills” area of Nebraska.
Read the Governor’s Approval Letter by clicking here.
Read TransCanada’s Statement on the Governor’s Approval by clicking here.
On the same day Gov. Heineman approved the pipeline, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked if we could expect the project to move forward now. Carney largely avoided the answer, suggesting these things take time, and reminding folks that the Obama Administration blames the Nebraska Governor for the delay. “One of the things that delayed or postponed this process had to do with the opposition of the Nebraska Governor and others in that state to the route that Keystone was proposed to take, the pipeline was proposed to take,” said Carney. The “others” mentioned by Carney will likely oppose the pipeline regardless.
If the President’s State of the Union is any indication, it’s unlikely he will move quickly on giving final approval for the pipeline. The only comments related to energy security or independence in that address were directed at “green energy.” “The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition, we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries, we must claim its promise,” said Obama.
Read the President’s State of the Union Address by clicking here.
What the President and others in the Administration need to understand is that no matter how promising new energy technologies might be in the future, the United States and the globe are largely a carbon based society. To do anything significantly different that would truly eliminate the need for carbon based energy will take much larger investments and infrastructure than most are willing to discuss. That, in part, is why we need to continue to look at new energy technologies while still working to become more energy independent in the current reality.
We need the Keystone XL Pipeline Project to be approved. As such, I send kudos to my old friend, U.S. Senator John Barrasso and about 52 other Senators for sending a letter to President Obama encouraging him to “finish the review process and approve the Keystone XL pipeline by the Administration’s own March 2013 deadline.”
Read the text of the letter by clicking here.
The letter concludes, “After four and a half years of stude, we urge you to stick to your deadlines. The American people need a timely decision on the Presidential Permit.”
I would argue that the American people not only need a timely decision, but they DESERVE a timely decision. Far too often government delays important decisions in the name of appeasing certain interest groups. Any delay in approving this project only hurts the American people. The American people deserve the 5000-6000 temporary construction jobs; the American economy deserves the private sector investment of $20+ billion; states and communities along the pipeline route deserve the $585 million in new taxes; and the nation deserves strengthened energy security with the pipelines 1.1million barrels per day capacity (with contracts to support it).
Learn the facts by clicking here.
Mr. President, approving the pipeline is good for America!