No excuses left for delaying Keystone pipeline construction

From Cindy Schild, senior manager, American Petroleum Institute

It requires a willful misunderstanding of energy market dynamics — and current events — to assert that Keystone XL will not enhance U.S. energy security (Erik Molvar, The Hill’s Contributors Blog, “Is Keystone about energy security or naked greed?” Jan. 16). We’ve already seen how increased North American production shields U.S. consumers from overseas supply disruptions that once would have sent gas prices soaring. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), America’s 4 million-plus barrels per day in production growth from 2011 to 2014 counterbalanced 2.8 million barrels per day in global supply disruptions. Without this surging production, EIA chief Adam Sieminski estimated that crude oil prices could be $150 per barrel.

That’s energy security. And Keystone XL will add 830,000 barrels of oil per day to it, not just from Canada but from North Dakota and Montana. The U.S. is within 10 years of the ability to supply 100 percent of our liquid fuel needs from stable North American sources — but not if we reject obvious opportunities like Keystone XL. Our competitors in the Middle East and Russia have already lost their market dominance, and the pipeline will further add to U.S. energy leadership and global competitiveness — along with national security and economic security.

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Deploying the most advanced technology and applying the latest safety standards and systems, Keystone XL “would have a degree of safety over any other typically constructed domestic oil pipeline system,” according to the State Department. Over the course of five thorough environmental assessments, the State Department further concluded there will be “no significant impacts” to the environment along the proposed route, and the pipeline will contribute “no substantive change in global (greenhouse gas) emissions.”

After six years of exhaustive review, the idea that legislation would “lift this pipeline above the law and force approval” is laughable. The approval process for cross-border pipeline projects typically takes 18 to 24 months — and none has ever been denied. More than 10,000 miles of oil and natural gas pipeline have been built in the U.S. during the 76 months Keystone XL has been under review. That’s just part of the more than 184,000 miles of liquid transmission pipelines in the United States that transport oil and petroleum products at a 99.999 percent safety rate. 

The review process has been the most thorough in history, and there are no excuses left for more delay.

Washington, D.C. 

President Obama asking wealthy to pay for his economic mistakes

From Paul Bloustein

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After six full years of the Obama economy, low- and middle-income families still face slow job growth and persistent wage stagnation. President Obama proposes tax hikes on the financially successful so he can provide increased welfare payments to families earning up to $210,000 annually. In other words, he wants the wealthy to pay for his mismanagement of the economy. 

Getting others to pay for your own mistakes is quite a feat, and I congratulate the president for world-class chutzpah in even proposing it.

Cincinnati