Last Modified: Wednesday, February 05, 2014 2:13 PM
A favorable report on the Keystone XL oil pipeline by the U.S. State Department represents a thimble’s worth of sanity in Washington, D.C.
The proposed pipeline, which would transport more than 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta, Canada, to refineries in Southeast Texas, has been in a holding pattern for nearly six years as it has been examined by a gaggle of federal agencies.
The State Department’s report concluded that whether the pipeline is constructed, the oil will be extracted and refined.
That will displease environmentalists who have long argued that the tar sands oil from the Alberta fields will exacerbate carbon pollution.
Oil industry officials have countered in this political football debate that the Canadian government plans to sell the oil regardless of whether the pipeline is built and that the United States’ interest would be best served by building it and refining the oil here rather than seeing it exported to oil-starved economies in China or India.
The pipeline would also be good for the U.S. economy by creating nearly 42,000 jobs.
“In the United States, we already have 2.6 million miles of pipeline transporting oil, gas and refined products that this country needs for its own economic vitality,” said Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. “These pipelines provide energy to 313 million citizens, 114 million homes and 18 million businesses across the country. So we are struggling to understand why the 800 additional miles in the Keystone XL pipeline are facing such delay. The pipeline is critical to securing our energy independence ... .
“In Louisiana, we explore, produce and find a lot of energy, and we transport it. We want to keep our people and the environment safe, and this pipeline removes congestion and provides a safe way to get energy where it’s needed. The time for studies is over, and it’s time to act now to get this project underway.”
That eight other federal agencies, including the Departments of Interior, Commerce and Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, will have to sign off on the pipeline speaks volumes about the bureaucratic over-regulation in Washington.
Brigham A. McCown, a former administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, called the Keystone XL the most scrutinized pipeline in the nation’s history.
“The fact that it’s lasted as long as it has means one of two things,” he said. “They’ve either done a very good, thorough job, or they’ve slowed it down due to political pressure.”
It’s past time that the politics get cast aside by the Obama administration and the Keystone XL pipeline gets built.