Rep. Fred Upton in the Detroit Free Press: Keystone Pipeline Will Bring Jobs, Greater Energy Independence

May 10, 2012

Keystone Pipeline Will Bring Jobs, Greater Energy Independence
Detroit Free Press
By Rep. Fred Upton

This week, I began negotiations with House and Senate colleagues on a transportation package to support jobs and infrastructure, and the good news is, there's an infrastructure project with shovel-ready jobs that we can include in this legislation, and it won't cost taxpayers a dime: the Keystone XL pipeline, which will carry Canadian energy supplies to American refineries.

We can see the economic benefits of North American energy development right here in Michigan. Just last month, I visited Detroit's Marathon Petroleum refinery, which is undergoing a $2.2-billion expansion project to also process Canadian oil sands. This type of investment is great news for our state, and Keystone XL will allow us as a nation to embrace these energy resources, creating jobs and greater energy security.

Keystone XL will support jobs not just along the pipeline's 1,700-mile route, but all across the country, including in Michigan. I recently visited Delta Industrial Valves in Niles, which would benefit from the pipeline's proposed expansion by supplying valves used in the Canadian oil extracting plants and the refineries where the oil will end up.

The Obama administration rejected the project, and opponents have manufactured excuses to reject this stable, affordable supply of energy from our neighbor to the north. But if we don't act, we risk losing the entire project, along with thousands of jobs and access to one of the world's richest energy resources.

If we don't accept Canada's oil, China and other energy-hungry nations will. Canadian officials already are negotiating to expand a pipeline to the Pacific so that oil can be shipped to the Far East on tankers. And if it goes there, it won't be coming back.

Michigan families and businesses are struggling with high prices at the pump just like the rest of the country. While gasoline prices are influenced by many factors beyond the reach of Congress, there are some factors we can control, including access to energy supplies. Increasing the supply of oil will help meet demand, and the Keystone XL pipeline will bring nearly a million barrels of additional oil per day to U.S. refineries.

Opponents of this project claim that expanding the oil supply to Midwest and Gulf Coast refineries and distribution centers will somehow increase gasoline prices in the Midwest. On its face, this argument strains credibility. Even the U.S. Department of Energy has weighed in to debunk this myth. In a June 2011 memo, the deputy assistant secretary for policy analysis wrote: "Gasoline prices in all markets served by (Gulf Coast and East Coast) refiners would decrease, including the Midwest."

The Keystone XL pipeline is good news for jobs, energy security, and, yes, for the environment. Pipelines are the safest, most environmentally sound way to transport oil and gas -- much safer than with trucks, railways or ships.

Keystone XL will adhere to new and stronger pipeline safety standards that were signed into law earlier this year, the product of legislation authored by myself and U.S. Rep. John Dingell, reflecting lessons learned from the devastating Enbridge spill here in Michigan two summers ago.

The president wants to push this issue past Election Day, but our window of opportunity is closing. The stakes are too high for our economy and energy security for Congress not to act, which is why I will make it a priority to see that Congress creates an immediate path forward for Keystone XL.

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, a Republican from St. Joseph, represents Michigan's 6th U.S. House District and is chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Read the article online here.