Industry Groups Mark Sixth Anniversary of Keystone XL Delay

By: Karen Boman

The American Petroleum Institute (API) and other energy industry groups are marking the sixth anniversary of TransCanada’s initial filing for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline a milestone they see as one of lost opportunity rather than something to celebrate.

While uncertainty continues to surround if and when the Keystone pipeline project is approved, it could create a new market for greeting cards and decorations to celebrate such milestones. API is marking the anniversary – September 19, 2008 — by sending little cards to lawmakers, highlighting six benefits of the Keystone project, including the 42,000 jobs that Keystone XL would generate during the construction phase. According to API, the pipeline would contribute more than $3.4 billion to the U.S. economy overall and support $3.1 billion in construction contracts and materials.

The card, which features a worker sitting on a pipeline, also highlights projects and events that were completed in six years or less. According to the card, the Keystone XL pipeline project has now been under review longer than it took to win World War II, to construct the Hoover Dam, or for Michelangelo to paint the Sistine Chapel, said Cindy Schild, API downstream operations senior manager for refining and oil sands, in a Sept. 16 press statement.

“They don’t make cards for delaying jobs for six years. So we made our own,” the card says.

Over 10,000 miles of oil and natural gas pipelines also have been built in the United States during that time, enough to cross the nation almost four times. Despite strong public support from the U.S. public, five “exhaustive” studies that have affirmed the pipeline’s environmental safety and economic benefits, and calls by both Democratic and Republican politicians to approve the pipeline project, the Obama administration has not made the decision to allow the project to move forward.

“If the facts and merits were to be factors of approval for the project, I would be optimistic,” Schild told Rigzone. However, the project has become mired in politics, at the expense of U.S. workers and U.S. energy security.


“What more can we say?” said Schild. “There’s only so much creativity” in the way that API and other industry groups can convey the benefits of the project. That being said, Schild hopes that politics can be set aside and a decision made in the near future.

On Sept. 15, the U.S. Chamber’s Energy Institute for 21st Century Energy kicked off the “Keystone XL Pipeline Lost Opportunity Tour”. During the tour, the institute will visit the cities, towns, ranches and businesses near the pipeline that will benefit from the construction and continued operation of the pipeline. The first stop on the tour is in Morgan, Montana – where the pipeline would cross into the United States from Canada – and wind up at where the pipeline would connect at the Nebraska-Kansas border. The Energy Institute and the Chamber will tell these stories on the web, social media, and via digital advertising across the United States.

“Our tour will demonstrate that there are consequences for this inaction,” said Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the institute, in a Sept. 11 press statement, of the six year delay in permitting of the Keystone XL project. “Not only has America been forced to buy millions of barrels of oil from unfriendly sources, but Americans along the pipeline route and across the nation have been denied thousands of jobs, millions in revenue and countless opportunities.”

Union workers are another part of the Keystone XL story. The recent Labor Day holiday marked the fourth year that union construction workers did not take off from building the Keystone XL pipeline, said Michael Whatley, policy advisor for the Consumer Energy Alliance. Union laborers would build the Keystone XL pipeline if it’s approved. During construction, the project would create more than seven million hours of labor and over 13,000 new jobs for U.S. workers.

The pipeline would be capable of transporting 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada and the Bakken play in the United States to the U.S. Gulf Coast. Keystone XL would bring the United States closer to supplying 100 percent of its liquid fuel needs from North America within the next decade, said API in a statement.

“Some of us like to celebrate anniversaries,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) during a Sept. 18 press conference in which she and other senators again called for the pipeline project’s approval. “I know my husband and I do. But why would we be celebrating an anniversary of six years of waiting?”


Despite the benefits of jobs, energy security, tax revenues and affordable energy resources for American families, Murkowski said they can’t get the administration moving on the matter.

Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) questioned why the current administration wouldn’t seek to lessen its dependence on Middle Eastern oil – which generates revenue for the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – by approving the Keystone XL pipeline project, allowing the United States to instead rely on Canadian oil and Bakken oil from North Dakota and Montana.

Approving the pipeline project also would help reduce the bottleneck of railroad cars that are currently being used to transport oil from the Bakken play to markets elsewhere in the United States, Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) said during the press conference. Every day, trains transporting oil move out of the state, which makes it hard for South Dakota to get its agricultural commodities to market.


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