A grassroots group called the Ports-To-Plains Alliance has weighed in today on the Keystone XL Pipeline controversy. Despite widespread public support for the pipeline, which would move oil from Canada’s tar sands region to the US for refining and add to the overall world supply of oil, President Barack Obama scuttled the pipeline earlier this year. That move probably destroyed an estimated 20,000 jobs and tilted Canada toward selling its oil to China.
Obama put off final decision on the pipeline until after the 2012 elections. He has not reopened discussion of the pipeline since he was narrowly re-elected.
But TransCanada has proposed a new route for the pipeline that avoids the Nebraska Sandhills, and the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality is seeking comment before it drafts its report on the new route. Port-To-Plains Alliance, which is made up of more than 100 local elected officials and community leaders, has today offered its “strong support” for the Keystone XL Pipeline.
In their letter, the Alliance cites the pipeline’s impact on jobs and the local and US economy.
Keystone XL will provide significant economic benefits for our region. The pipeline is expected to create approximately 20,000 manufacturing and construction jobs in the United States. It could also generate more than $5.2 billion in tax revenue to the Keystone XL corridor states. At a time when state and local governments across the country are struggling to balance their budgets, these employment and revenue benefits are critical to our region. Specific benefits for Nebraska include:
- More than $465 million in new spending for the Nebraska economy
- More than 7,500 person years of employment
- Increased personal income by $314 million
- Additional state and local tax revenues of more than $11 million
- $390 million in increased Gross State Product
The letter also notes that the pipeline is “critical to our country’s efforts to reduce dependence on Middle East and Venezuelan oil, by increasing our access to supplies from Canada, our neighbor and loyal ally, as well as domestic supplies from the Bakken Formation of Montana and North Dakota.”
President Obama campaigned promising an “all of the above” approach to energy, but has yet to state whether he will instruct the US State Department to approve or deny TransCanada’s permits to construct the pipeline. The State Department has to approve the construction because the pipeline crosses an international boundary.
The Ports-To-Plains Alliance letter supporting the pipeline is embedded below.