Keystone pipeline - why the wait?

In March, the U.S. State Department released the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) on Keystone and its environmental impact.  The DSEIS states that Keystone will have little impact on climate change and that “there would be no substantive change in global GHG emissions.”  So why the wait?

It has been over 1700 days since TransCanada first submitted an application to the State Department.  Since then, the House has voted seven times – six last Congress and once last month – to finish construction, and the President has reviewed numerous environmental studies.

The Keystone XL pipeline, perhaps the most studied and scrutinized project in infrastructure history, is a $7 billion private-sector infrastructure project capable of moving up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day – about half the amount the U.S. imports from the Middle East.  An Energy Department study found that the rise in Canadian crude oil imports “would curb dependency on crude oils from other sources, notably the Middle East and Africa.”  That's good news for our economy and good news for our national security.

ADVERTISEMENT
America needs a stable supply of reliable and affordable energy to keep our economy strong.  We cannot continue to send billions of dollars overseas to unstable nations.  By removing unnecessary roadblocks, like the four years of bureaucratic delays on the Keystone, Congress and the federal government can help to increase production, bringing prices down and create thousands of jobs.

In fact, the State Department estimates the pipeline will create more than 42,000 American jobs.  Combine that with the tens of billions of dollars added to America’s Gross Domestic Product, and the important fact that not a dime of taxpayer money will be spent, and the answer is clear: It’s time to build.

Pipelines are the safest, most efficient, and least costly way to transport energy resources. And the pipeline far outweighs the alternative modes like ships, trucks or rail.  The Keystone XL project is the safest pipeline ever proposed and built.   It will exceed safety standards of previous pipelines with stringent safety requirements and oversight from the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

After more than four years of unprecedentedly thorough review, the time has come to move forward with construction.  Republicans support it.  Democrats support it.  Labor unions support it.  The President has gone on record saying he supports it.  Why wait?  Why not approve it today?

Can we build a pipeline that protects our environment, creates jobs and lessens our dependence on oil from hostile nations?  Yes, we can.  It’s time to build.  It’s time to let the oil, and the jobs, flow.

Williams represents Texas's 25th congressional distrct in the House of Representatives since 2013 and sits on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.