Following the release of the State Department's fifth and final environmental impact statement (EIS) that again determined the Keystone XL pipeline poses no significant environmental risks, Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), David Vitter (R-La.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Representatives Lee Terry (R-NE 02) and John Barrow (D-GA 12), along with Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer, labor and business leaders and a national security expert today joined together to again call on President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.
Attending the news conference were: Sean McGarvey, President North America's Building Trades Unions; Jeffrey Soth, Legislative and Political Director International Union of Operating Engineers; John Penn, Vice President and Regional Manager, Laborers International Union of North America, Mid-West Region; Rick Terven, Executive Vice President for the United Association of Plumbers and Pipe Fitters; a representative from the U.S. Chamber's Institute for 21st Century Energy; Rear Admiral Don Loren, USN (Ret) and Jack Gerard, CEO of the American Petroleum Institute.
The $7 billion, 1,700-mile, high-tech Keystone XL pipeline will carry 830,000 barrels of oil a day to U.S. refineries. That includes oil from Alberta, Canada, in addition to 100,000 barrels per day of light, sweet crude from the U.S. Bakken region in North Dakota and Montana. In the construction phase, it will create 42,000 jobs, according to the U.S. State Department. This means more revenues for struggling local economies, as well as for the federal government to help get on top of our deficit and debt.
The Keystone XL pipeline is one of the most advanced and studied pipeline projects in the nation's history. It will be monitored 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and satellites will send data from 25,000 data points to the pipeline's monitoring center. If a drop in pressure is detected, any section of the pipeline can be isolated remotely, closing any of the hundreds of valves on the system within minutes.
The Keystone XL is not only an important jobs and economic project; it will also reduce the nation's dependence on volatile parts of the world for energy, which will make the nation safer.
Leaders Sound Off on the Keystone XL Pipeline
"The Administration has spent more than five years studying this project, and five environmental impact statements have each found that the Keystone XL pipeline poses no significant risk to the environment," said Sen. Hoeven. "It's past time for the president to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. We need the jobs, the economic benefits and the energy security this pipeline will help provide. Keystone XL is in our national interest, and the President should approve it today."
"This final report from the State Department is encouraging, but the bottom line is -- we don't need any more reports, we need action," said Sen. Landrieu. "When we create energy from any source, we create jobs, and this project is slated to create over 40,000 jobs nationally, not to mention the positive economic impact for Louisiana's economy. Our refineries along the Gulf Coast host nearly half of all refining capacity; most of those are uniquely equipped to use the type of crude oil that will be transported through the pipeline. Louisiana is ready for this pipeline and the country is ready for this pipeline. It's time to build."
"I have a simple message for the President: it's time to make a decision on Keystone XL. The truth is that I've been saying that for several years, but with the release of the State Department's latest SEIS last week, the time to make a decision has really, truly, unavoidably come. As State has confirmed, there is little dispute about whether this project is in our national interest. The answer is yes. Whether we are talking about a "year of action' or simple commonsense, the need for more good-paying jobs or a tremendous opportunity for greater energy security, the president has every reason to approve this project," said Sen. Murkowski.
"It's in our best interest -- economic, national security, and energy security -- to approve the Keystone XL pipeline," said Sen. Heitkamp. "This process has dragged on for far too long. It's past time for the President to make a decision -- the right decision -- and approve this project so we encourage and benefit from energy production from a friend and ally, rather than get those resources from volatile countries elsewhere across the world."
"The Obama administration is now out of excuses for refusing to grant completion of this project. By any reasonable standard, the Keystone XL pipeline is in the national interest and will enhance U.S. economic and energy security. Not only will the pipeline create jobs, promote economic growth and expand access to North American energy, it will also provide a safer and more environmentally friendly method of developing these oil resources," said Sen. Bob Corker, ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee.
"Last week's environmental impact statement is further proof that must move ahead with the Keystone XL Pipeline and that is why I have been urging President Obama to approve it now," said Sen. Begich. "Alaskans understand the common sense benefits: a secure source of oil from a trusted ally and neighbor and more American jobs. After 5 years of carefully studying this project, it's time to build this pipeline and move toward a more secure energy future for our country."
"For five years, Americans have been waiting for the thousands of good-paying jobs that the Keystone XL pipeline would create," Sen. Wicker said. "And yet, President Obama continues to stall, even though multiple reports by his own Administration conclude that the pipeline would not have a significant impact on the environment. This would be a bipartisan jobs win. If the President is serious about making this a "year of action,' approving the Keystone XL pipeline is a constructive way to start."
"The President has said this will be a year of action and with a project like the Keystone XL Pipeline the last thing we need is more delays," said Rep. Terry. Friday's report clearly meets the President's standard for not increasing carbon pollution and in fact indicates there will be more harm to environment if he does not approve the permit. The President should use his pen because it's time to build the Keystone XL pipeline."
"We've waited years now for the President to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline. We have the studies, we have the support of the states along the route, and we have the backing of a bipartisan coalition in Congress," Sen. Pryor said. "Mr. President, let's build the Keystone XL Pipeline."
"The Administration should now move beyond dilly dallying and approve this job creating project. They've known for years that most Americans want it done," Sen. Vitter said.
"After more than five years and five federal reviews, all the excuses not to build Keystone XL have been exhausted. The FEIS has put to rest any credible concerns about the pipeline's potential negative impact on the environment. The only thing left is for President Obama to declare that this project is in our nation's interest. The potential to improve our trade relations with our top ally, Canada, while enhancing our energy security is good for all Americans. This long awaited project should now be swiftly approved. It's time to put thousands of Americans to work," said API CEO Gerard.
"After five years of review, we know all we possibly could about the Keystone XL pipeline," said Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber's Institute for 21st Century Energy. "The question now is whether the Administration will follow the facts and analysis, or let other considerations guide the decision making process. A majority of the American public have long supported to project so for the sake of for the sake of our energy security and economy, the choice is clear--the Keystone XL pipeline should be approved."
"I am pleased the State Department has once again confirmed that there is no evidence of any negative environmental impact from building this state of the art pipeline and that construction will not increase greenhouse gas emissions," said William P. Hite, General President, United Association of Journeymen & Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the United States, Canada & Australia. "This is the most thoroughly vetted major infrastructure project in the nation's history. The project has met every single safety and environmental standard. We look forward to its approval and the thousands of jobs it will create for working families."