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OPINION: Detroit News Editorial: Build the Keystone Pipeline



It has now been 1,595 days since TransCanada first submitted its application to construct the Keystone XL pipeline, and pressure continues to build on the president to approve the project. An editorial in today’s Detroit News urges support for the pipeline for the sake of energy security. With or without the Keystone XL pipeline, Canada will continue producing its oil sands. It would be a huge mistake for the president to turn down this source of secure energy from our North American neighbor and closest ally.

Editorial: Build the Keystone Pipeline
The project would create jobs for U.S. workers while adding to nation’s energy security
The Detroit News

January 30, 2013

The Keystone XL Pipeline, carrying Canadian crude oil from Alberta to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico could be a significant piece of America’s drive to break its dependence on oil from unsavory places. That alone is a powerful incentive for approving the project. …

With the election behind us, the Keystone issue is back. And this month, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman approved a new state route submitted by pipeline builder TransCanada following an analysis from Nebraska’s Department of Environmental Quality. In doing so, the state has called environmentalists’ bluff in removing the routing barrier to Keystone.

Not that further study was needed. President Barack Obama’s own State Department has conducted two lengthy reviews. Indeed, transcontinental oil pipelines are hardly a novel idea, crisscrossing the American landscape, including pipelines that deliver oil from the very same Alberta oil fields to Marathon’s refinery in Southwest Detroit. Keystone XL’s ultimate destination is American Gulf Coast refineries where oil can be exported to world markets.

Yet, anti-oil advocates have drawn a line in the sand on the issue, calling for Obama to bury the Keystone project again as part of his inaugural call against global warming. The pipeline has even exposed splits in the Democratic Party, as Keystone has won support from the Teamsters and AFL-CIO unions as well as bipartisan support from Democrats in the House and Senate.

“The Keystone Pipeline project will offer working men and women a real chance to earn a good wage and support their families in this difficult economic climate,” Teamsters President James P. Hoffa said. …

Environmentalists oppose Alberta-sourced oil because a gallon of gasoline produced by oil sands emits 5 to 15 percent more greenhouse gases.

Yet the 700,000 barrels a day produced by the Canadian fields will find their way to market regardless, as TransCanada plans to route its pipeline to the Pacific Coast if Keystone fails. The casualties, in other words, would not be the climate but American workers.

The reality is that for the foreseeable future, America’s transportation economy runs on oil. Maintaining cheap, secure sources is important to American growth. The Keystone pipeline is also a significant commitment by the U.S. to North American-energy production from a key ally. Biting Canada’s hand on the pipeline would be a curious reaction from an administration that has committed to better foreign relations.

The Alberta oil sands are the second-largest petroleum reserves in the world. Keystone XL is estimated to transport over half as much oil a year as the U.S. currently imports from Saudi Arabia. Canada is already America’s largest oil exporter.

In the name of energy security, Michigan’s senators should help speed Keystone to reality.

To read the full editorial online, click here.


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