... Five Years: Still No Keystone XL Approval

Five Years: Still No Keystone XL Approval

It’s been five years since the initial filing of the Keystone XL pipeline application, and members of the Energy and Commerce Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives marked the occasion.

The Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) , marked the milestone with a hearing on Sept. 19, dubbed “Keystone’s Red Tape Anniversary: Five Years of Bureaucratic Delay and Economic Benefits Denied.” The hearing examined the economic and energy security benefits of completing the project — benefits that are being lost as a result of the administration’s delays.

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TransCanada first submitted its application to the U.S. State Department to construct the Keystone XL pipeline on Sept. 19, 2008. Despite years of environmental review and public support for the pipeline, the administration continues to block construction of this critical energy infrastructure project, which is estimated to create thousands of American jobs and pour billions of dollars into the U.S. economy. The hearing featured supporters of the pipeline, including Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Rep. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), and Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), who addressed how the pipeline will improve the American economy, and other witnesses who are directly involved in the pipeline’s construction.

“Today marks day number 1,826 — five years to the day since the original permits were filed to build the Keystone XL pipeline,” Terry said at the hearing. “To put this delay into perspective, it took our greatest generation just over 1,300 days to fight and win World War II. It took Lewis and Clark just over 1,100 days to walk the Louisiana Purchase and back, and it took just over 1,400 days to build the Golden Gate Bridge. Now, according to President [Barack] Obama’s own State Department analysis, the Keystone XL pipeline will create over 42,000 jobs. How much more of an economic impact could building the rest of the Keystone XL pipeline have, and how many more jobs could be created by approving this critical infrastructure project? Without construction of the northern route, these benefits to our nation of builders are denied.”

Ron Kaminski, business manager for a local Nebraska chapter of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, testified that his membership would see significant benefits as a result of Keystone’s construction, and the pipeline would help put countless Americans back to work.

“The construction sector was hit particularly hard by the economic recession,” Kaminski said. “The unemployment rate in the construction industry reached over 27 percent in 2010, and joblessness in construction remains higher than virtually any industry or sector, with nearly 1 million construction workers currently unemployed in the United States.

Too many hardworking Americans are out of work, and the Keystone XL pipeline will change that dire situation for thousands of them.”

Full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) concluded, “Keystone XL can’t solve all of our employment problems, but it could have helped many by now.”

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