Speaking before the Energy and Power Subcommittee, Congressman Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) today called on Congress to pass new, bipartisan legislation to remove the roadblocks that continue to needlessly delay approval of the Keystone XL pipeline project. Keystone is a $7 billion private-sector infrastructure project will bring thousands of jobs and greater energy security to the United States, but it has been tied up in regulatory review for over four years. Upton is a coauthor of the legislation -- the Northern Route Approval Act (H.R. 3) -- which would clear the remaining regulatory and legal hurdles, including removal of the project's requirement for a Presidential Permit.
"We have an historic opportunity with the Keystone XL pipeline to create thousands of good-paying American jobs and reduce our reliance on overseas energy. Unfortunately, the administration's ongoing delays have kept the private-sector project on hold for more than four years, blocking the jobs and affordable energy that come with it," said Upton. "We have all heard the employment numbers associated with Keystone, the tens of thousands of direct and indirect jobs that will be created -- companies like Delta Industrial Valves of Niles put a face to those numbers. Delta's made-in-America valves and the jobs that go with them are an important part of the Keystone XL story. But these jobs can't happen unless Keystone XL gets built."
At today's hearing, Upton welcomed testimony from Keith Stelter, president and co-owner of Delta Industrial Valves, Inc. in Niles, Michigan, whose business has grown in part because of expanding energy production in Western Canada. Upton visited the Berrien County manufacturer last April to highlight the company's continued success as well as to underscore the importance of the Keystone project to local businesses. In his testimony, Stelter explained how local companies like his will benefit from Keystone's approval as well as the detrimental impact that the administration's unnecessary delays have had on U.S. industry and jobs.
"Although Delta Industrial Valves are not actually used in oil pipelines, our valves are used extensively in the facilities on both ends of the pipelines. So the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline is very important to us and many, many other American companies," said Stelter in his prepared testimony. "If the Keystone XL pipeline can be built, I would see my company probably doubling in size over the next ten years because of the oil sands projects that were cancelled or put "on hold' being brought to life again."
"But the bigger picture that needs to be realized and understood by the current administration and Congress is that because of what the Canadians perceive as the U.S. "thumbing their nose' at Canada, Canada has allowed PetroChina to become more and more involved in the oil sands. This is (or should be) very concerning to the U.S. government, the current administration, and also the U.S. population in general."
Approval of the Keystone XL pipeline means jobs, energy security, and lower gas and energy prices here in the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the Keystone pipeline would transport some 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta, Canada, to U.S. refineries in the Midwest and Gulf Coast regions. Construction of the project would directly create 20,000 jobs and indirectly create tens of thousands of jobs.
Pipelines remain the safest and most environmentally sound way to transport oil supplies. Last Congress, Upton worked closely with Michigan Congressman John Dingell, the former Democratic Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, to craft and shepherd through the bipartisan Pipeline Infrastructure and Community Protection Act (H.R. 2937), which ensures vital updates and improvements are made in U.S. pipeline safety. A final agreement on pipeline safety legislation was signed into law by the President at the beginning of 2012.