Now is the time to approve Keystone

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Recently nine governors joined us in sending a letter to President Obama urging him to approve the Keystone project, which is expected to boost total U.S. imports of oil from Canada up to four million barrels a day by 2020. That’s twice the amount that is currently being imported from the Persian Gulf. We also emphasized this project is not just about Canadian oil sands, as one out of every seven barrels of oil transported through the pipeline will be American, produced in North Dakota. 

While the quantity of oil the pipeline will transport is significant, this project is also about embracing policies that better serve and protect Americans and Canadians alike. 

The Keystone pipeline is critical to North American energy security, as Canada’s oil reserves are the third-largest in the world, trailing only Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. U.S.-Canadian trade eases the threat of Middle Eastern unrest compromising supplies, and releases all of us from the burden of dealing with South American despots. Instead, the Keystone will enable us to build upon the security, reliability, and trust already inherent in the U.S.-Canada partnership – the world’s largest, most peaceful, and productive trade relationship. 

The more the United States and Canada deal with one another, the more secure we all are. 

Not only is this a vital project for our national security, it’s also promising for environmental reasons. Canada – which shares so much of our air and water – is every bit as invested as the U.S.  in preserving and protecting the environment and transporting materials safely and efficiently across both countries. 

The building of the Keystone is expected to create thousands of good-paying manufacturing and construction jobs, while generating tax revenue and “spin-off” economic development that will naturally occur in communities along the pipeline route. 

In terms of dollars, Keystone will generate $617 billion in gross domestic product for Canada, along with $250 billion in taxes and royalties, and about 140,000 jobs in the first 25 years. The United States can expect 20,000 construction jobs, plus $585 million in taxes for states and communities during the construction phase. Over the operating life of the pipeline, the U.S. can expect $20 billion in private sector investment, and $5.2 billion in property taxes. In Texas alone, the project could potentially bring 13,000 jobs, $2.3 billion in spending, $48 million in tax revenues, and $1.9 billion in gross state product.

We remain hopeful that the president will seriously consider the views of governors whose state economies and environments will be most directly impacted by the pipeline.

In January, one of the remaining concerns was taken off the table when Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman approved a new pipeline route that avoids ecologically-sensitive regions of his state. Since then, the U.S. State Department has issued a report showing that the Keystone project would have no significant impact on the environment. And just this month, in a bipartisan show of support, the U.S. Senate voted in favor of an amendment to urge approval of the Keystone XL project. The amendment passed by a vote of 62-37, with the support of 17 Democrats. 

As we wrote in our letter, as leaders and decision-makers, we deem it imperative to speak up for a project that will contribute greatly to a safe, secure and long-term energy supply for North America, not to mention the jobs and economic opportunity it will bring. 

The time is now to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. It makes sound energy, economic, and environmental sense for both the United States and Canada.

Perry is the Republican governor of Texas and Wall is the premier of Saskatchewan.

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