OPINION: Rep. Fred Upton in National Journal "Keystone XL Pipeline: Path to Energy Independence, Jobs"

February 27, 2013

National Journal

What Does the Keystone XL Pipeline Represent?
Keystone XL Pipeline: Path to Energy Independence, Jobs

By Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee

February 27, 2013

The Keystone XL pipeline represents high-paying jobs, affordable and secure energy, and the possibility of North American energy independence. And unfortunately, the Keystone XL pipeline is also emblematic of the Obama administration’s failed policies – an unwillingness to embrace the job-creating power of private enterprise and move forward with a true “all-of-the-above” energy strategy.

The Keystone XL pipeline is a $7 billion private-sector infrastructure project that is expected to create thousands of direct and indirect middle-class jobs. As the nation’s economy has ground to a halt, the shovel-ready project’s job creating potential is a driving force behind its broad bipartisan support among congressional Republicans and Democrats as well as several labor unions. For many Americans, this pipeline represents the opportunity of reentering the job market with a good-paying job. The Keystone XL pipeline will get thousands of Americans workers back in the field fitting pipe, building electrical lines, welding, operating heavy machinery, and delivering equipment across the 1,700-mile route. There will be additional economic benefits felt beyond the immediate area of pipeline construction, as businesses across the country will be needed to supply materials, equipment, and critical technical expertise to help with construction.

Keystone XL is also an opportunity for America to increase its access to affordable and secure North American energy supplies. Canada’s recent oil sands discoveries have been a game-changer in the energy world, placing Canada now only behind Saudi Arabia and Venezuela in proved reserves. This newfound abundance of North American energy supplies is great news for America’s energy security, national security, and our economy, but we can’t take advantage of this opportunity unless we find a way to transport Canada’s oil to the United States. The Keystone XL pipeline is the answer. Once constructed, the pipeline will carry nearly a million additional barrels of oil each day from Alberta to U.S. refineries in the Midwest and Gulf Coast.

Canada’s dramatic energy growth, combined with our shale energy boom here in the United States, has finally put the goal of North American energy independence within reach, and the Keystone XL pipeline is a key component to achieve that goal. With the Keystone XL pipeline, we have the opportunity to take control of our energy future. Keystone XL provides access to Canada’s rich oil supplies which will displace our need for imports from hostile nations overseas and help free us from OPEC’s influence.

The Keystone XL pipeline is good for jobs, energy security, and for the environment. Pipelines remain the safest and most environmentally sound way to transport oil supplies, and if constructed, the Keystone XL pipeline would be the most technically advanced and safest pipeline ever constructed. The pipeline would incorporate 57 additional safety standards proposed by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and adhere to stronger new pipeline safety standards that were signed into law, the product of legislation I helped develop along with my colleague Rep. John Dingell.

It would seem approving Keystone XL would be a no-brainer. Thousands of middle-class jobs created, millions of barrels of oil from our North American ally and neighbor, and not a dime of taxpayer money spent. But for some reason, the president has still not found a way to say “yes” to this important middle class jobs and energy project. It has now been over four years, over 1,620 days, since TransCanada first applied to the State Department to build the Keystone XL pipeline and bring jobs and energy security to America. It is well past time to build the Keystone XL pipeline.

To read the full posting online, click HERE.