Mobile Menu - OpenMobile Menu - Closed


Congressman Tom Cole

Representing the 4th District of Oklahoma

Needless Delay in Keystone XL Pipeline Must End

June 17, 2013
Weekly Columns

Due to federal government resistance in approving TransCanada’s application to build, the Keystone XL pipeline has remained a topic of conversation far too long. For more than 1,700 days, TransCanada has awaited approval of its permit to begin construction. With each passing day, we are reminded of the needless delay placed upon this vital project. This must change, and the American people are not willing for another four years to pass before it does.
Without question, the construction of the Keystone pipeline is a wise move for domestic energy production and job creation. Members on both sides of the aisle in the House and Senate have confirmed their support time and again for TransCanada’s extension of the pipeline from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast, with a terminal in Cushing, Oklahoma. In the last Congress alone, the House voted six times to advance its construction. A bipartisan House showed its continued support for the project last month by voting in favor of H.R. 3, the Northern Route Approval Act, legislation that expedites the application process.
Every time I see the facts and figures about what the pipeline will contribute to America, I am disappointed that the Obama Administration is still delaying its progress. President Obama claims support for economic recovery, yet he refuses to approve a project that will certainly produce thousands of good paying jobs. Since the application is still caught up in the review process through unnecessary and excessive environmental studies, the White House is robbing taxpayers of potential jobs. TransCanada is willing to invest $7 billion in construction, and in so doing would directly create 20,000 jobs without expending any federal dollars. Estimates also show creation of as many as 118,000 related jobs.
Not only is the project a wise investment in the future of North American energy production and job creation, but it also strengthens our national security by reducing dependence on foreign oil. Based on estimates from the Department of Energy, the proposed 1,700-mile pipeline could move at least 830,000 barrels of oil per day. We currently import about half of that amount from the Middle East, which is unacceptably high. Without approval of projects like Keystone, however, it is likely to go even higher.
Research has already been done that indicates no harmful effects on the environment from its construction. No fewer than three times, extensive environmental impact studies issued findings affirming the project would have “no significant impact” on the environment. Unfortunately, approval has still been delayed. If we continue to hold up TransCanada and require even more unnecessary environmental studies, it sets an expectation for future construction projects. It wouldn’t be surprising for similar pipeline applications to be delayed or not even submitted, costing us even more jobs. These needless regulations and pointless delays must be lifted.
It’s time for the State Department and White House to acknowledge the value of the Keystone project and approve its construction. Through this partnership with our allies in Canada, the pipeline would be a vital step toward creating good paying jobs, strengthening our national security and lowering fuel prices. This project is beneficial for domestic energy supply, creates much-needed jobs for hardworking Americans and boosts economic growth. We must resolve this ridiculous situation once and for all and let construction begin.