The PJ Tatler

485 Miles Down, 875 Miles to Go

TransCanada says the southern leg of the Keystone XL Pipeline is complete. The Gulf Coast Project, which stretches from Cushing, OK to Nederland, TX, carries crude oil to be refined into the fuel products that power our economy. Building the Gulf Coast Project created about 4,000 direct jobs and its existence puts some downward pressure on energy prices, while reducing American dependence on foreign oil. 830,000 barrels of crude can pass through the GCP every day, to be refined into gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, etc. The American economy needs this fuel and more.

The Gulf Coast Project’s 485 miles are not enough by themselves, though. TransCanada wants to build the remaining 875 miles of the full Keystone XL.

The Keystone would stretch north from Cushing to deliver oil from North Dakota’s Bakken formation down to Nederland. Building those 875 miles of pipeline would create about 9,000 jobs directly, with many more created in a ripple effect. It would add an estimated $20 billion to the economy. It would add to the positives that the Gulf Coast Project promises — downward pressure on energy prices, reducing US dependence on the likes of Venezuela and the Middle East, and improve the environment, as oil refined inside the US is subject to our stricter environmental standards.

But President Obama, who claims that he protects the environment and supports the creation of private-sector jobs in America, is standing in the way. The Gulf Coast Project did not cross an international boundary, so he had less power to stop it, and it is complete in less than two years. He has dithered over the XL for years now, which has stifled the job creation the pipeline would unleash while driving Canada into a closer relationship with China. Blocking the pipeline isn’t actually helping the environment, it just means that more oil has to be transported by ships and other means, some to countries that lack the same standards in place in the US. Obama came to office promising to use “smart” diplomacy, but his delay of the XL has hurt America’s relationship with its largest trading partner. There is no economic, environmental or geopolitical upside to blocking the Keystone XL. Obama is placing the concerns of radical environmental Luddites over the concerns of the nation, our economy and our security.

Obama needs to knock off the politics and approve the Keystone XL.