On 5-Year Anniversary of the Keystone XL Pipeline’s Initial Filing, Members Hear Why It’s #TimeToBuild
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WASHINGTON, DC – The Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE), today marked the five-year anniversary of the initial filing of the Keystone XL pipeline application with a hearing on “Keystone’s Red Tape Anniversary: Five Years of Bureaucratic Delay and Economic Benefits Denied.” Today’s hearing examined the economic and energy security benefits of completing the project—benefits that are being lost as a result of the administration’s delays.
TransCanada first submitted its application to the U.S. State Department to construct the Keystone XL pipeline on September 19, 2008. Despite years of environmental review and public support for the pipeline, the administration continues to block construction of this critical energy infrastructure project, which is estimated to create thousands of American jobs and pour billions of dollars into the U.S. economy. Today’s hearing featured supporters of the pipeline, including Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT), and Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), who addressed how the pipeline will improve the American economy, and other witnesses who are directly involved in the pipeline’s construction.
“Today marks day number 1,826 – five years to the day since the original permits were filed to build the Keystone XL pipeline. To put this delay into perspective, it took our greatest generation just over 1,300 days to fight and win World War II. It took Lewis and Clark just over 1,100 days to walk the Louisiana Purchase and back, and it took just over 1,400 days to build the Golden Gate Bridge. Now, according to President Obama’s own State Department analysis, the Keystone XL pipeline will create over 42,000 jobs,” said Chairman Terry. “How much more of an economic impact could building the rest of the Keystone XL pipeline have, and how many more jobs could be created by approving this critical infrastructure project? Without construction of the northern route, these benefits to our nation of builders are denied.”
Ron Kaminski, Business Manager for a local Nebraska chapter of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, testified that his membership would see significant benefits as a result of Keystone’s construction, and the pipeline would help put countless Americans back to work. Kaminski expressed, “The construction sector was hit particularly hard by the economic recession. The unemployment rate in the construction industry reached over 27% percent in 2010, and joblessness in construction remains higher than virtually any industry or sector, with nearly 1 million construction workers currently unemployed in the United States. Too many hard-working Americans are out of work, and the Keystone XL Pipeline will change that dire situation for thousands of them.”
“I welcome yet another opportunity to push for the Keystone XL pipeline because I believe it contributes to the national interest in so many respects that we need to talk about it in broader terms than just energy, or just the economy, or just the environment,” said Senator Hoeven. Explaining how the pipeline will deliver great benefits to our national and local economies, he added, “In both the construction and operational phases it will create jobs – thousands of jobs. It will also help to boost the U.S. economy and U.S. national security by ensuring a stable energy supply for the nation over an extended period of time. Local economies within the route will benefit from increased tax revenues and business activity during the construction phase, and local property taxes will be paid on a continuing basis to help shore up local economies.”
Karen Harbert, President & CEO of the Institute for 21st Century Energy with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, noted that the Keystone XL pipeline is critically important for our nation’s energy security. She said, “Approving the Keystone XL pipeline and making energy infrastructure a priority can help put America on a long-term path to a safe, strong, prosperous, and clean energy future. It is more than past time to move forward and grant the Presidential Permit for the northern section of the pipeline and heed this torturous lesson to take a serious look at how our policies and regulations are restricting access to abundant energy resources and returning investments in needed energy infrastructure.”
Full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) concluded, “Keystone XL can’t solve all of our employment problems, but it could have helped many by now.”