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Energy Blog

US Chamber of Commerce Blog

Sean Hackbarth Pipe to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline in a field in Gascoyne, ND.Pipe to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline in a field in Gascoyne, ND. Photo credit: Sean Hackbarth.

Congress is sending the bill approving the Keystone XL pipeline to the White House on Tuesday. Expect it to dominate coverage in Washington.

I’ve been following the saga for over three years and even traveled with the U.S. Chamber's Institute for 21st Century Energy along the proposed pipeline’s route last fall.

I'll be chatting about Keystone XL pipeline Tuesday, 10:30am ET on Facebook.

Until then, here are some things to read to help you catch up before President Obama is expected to veto the legislation:

6 reasons why the Keystone XL pipeline is in the national interest. If the president is as concerned with minimizing greenhouse gas emissions, then he should approve the pipeline. I talked to Jim Doolittle and his wife, Karen Wagner. The pipeline will travel across their ranch in South Dakota. If the pipeline is denied, a Glasgow, MT resident told me that she hopes someone from the administration comes to her town to explain why he did it. While Canada continues developing its oil, America is losing out on the jobs, economic growth, and local tax revenue that would be generated by the Keystone XL pipeline.

Tell President Obama: It's time to build the Keystone XL pipeline.

UPDATE: The chat was fun. I thank everyone who joined in. I hope we do this again soon.

  Post by U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Sean Hackbarth Breaking Up With Fossil Fuels is Hard to Do

Yale University anti-energy activists may hate fossil fuels, but they do like staying warm.

The latest snowstorm to hit the Northeast forced Fossil Free Yale to cancel its event for Global Divestment, the Yale Daily News reports:

FFY Project Manager Mitch Barrows ’16 said the delay is due to unfavorable weather conditions and other logistical issues, including some cancellations from speakers and performance groups. The postponement was made final as of Thursday evening.

As part of Global Divestment — a two-day coordinated outreach effort spanning campuses and communities in five continents — FFY had organized a series of events to rally support for its cause, including performances from student groups, guest speakers and a collaborative art installation.

The movement’s irrational mission is to force institutions, like Yale University, to make bad financial decisions [subscription required] by selling their investments in companies that develop oil, natural gas, and coal.

One of the leaders of this movement is author Naomi Klein. Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw linked to a web chat by Klein—that was presumably run on computers powered by a coal- or natural gas-fired power plant--where she declared energy producers to be a “rogue sector” of the economy, and we must nationalize them in order to wipe them out of existence

[For more on Klein's extremism, read my post on what she calls, "Blockadia," a movement to block fossil fuel projects.]

Such an extreme position conflicts with reality. As you can see in this Energy Information Administration chart, Americans will use fossil fuels for decades to come.

eia_energyoutlook2014_energyconsumption_800px.jpg  1980-2040 Energy Information Administration chart on primary energy consumption: 1980-2040

Because of their high energy density, fossil fuels offer a lot of energy at an affordable cost. Cooking, cleaning, communicating, commuting, and living our modern lives would be more expensive, if not impossible, without fossil fuels.

As the video above shows “breaking up with fossil fuels is hard do to.”

Thomas Pyle of @AEA: Fossil fuel divestment campaign wants Floridians to “‘divest’ from modern life.” https://t.co/r6x6b3HqyQ

— America's Power (@AmericasPower) February 13, 2015

Sean Hackbarth A man in a t-shirt supporting the Keystone XL pipeline at a Laborers' International Union of North America rally.A man in a t-shirt supporting the Keystone XL pipeline at a Laborers' International Union of North America rally. Photo credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg.

In the shadow of President Obama’s expected veto, Keystone XL pipeline supporters continued advocating for the energy infrastructure project.

Terry O'Sullivan, president of the Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA), a long-time backer of the pipeline, lambasted the President and Congressional Democrats for distorting the approval process and “cowardly politicking”:

To back up his expected veto, the President has correctly stated that there is “a well-established process in place” to consider approval of major infrastructure projects such as the Keystone XL Pipeline. What he didn’t say is that he and too many job-killing Democrats have perverted that process.

We remain hopeful that this lifeline to good careers and energy independence will be built. If it is, it won’t be due to a legitimate review process for pipelines – it will be because it managed to survive a destructive distortion of the approval process and cowardly politicking.

Joining O’Sullivan are 24 Republican governors who sent a letter to President Obama, asking him to sign the bill:

With one stroke of a pen, you have the power to give thousands of Americans the shot at a good-paying job that will help them provide for their families and get ahead in a tight economy. Approval would also demonstrate a sincere interest from your Administration in building bipartisan support for a truly all-of-the-above energy policy, and strengthen our economic relationship with Canada. Alternatively, you also have the power to veto the jobs, economic growth, and increased energy security the Keystone XL  pipeline represents.

The bipartisan support reflected by labor unions and Republican leaders is seen in polling on the Keystone XL pipeline. A December 2014 Fox News poll found that majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents think the Keystone XL pipeline should be built. Such broad-based support for the project has been the norm.

Karen Harbert, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy sums it up in a statement released after the House of Representatives approved the Keystone XL bill:

President Obama has a choice—side with the vast majority of the American people, more jobs, and more revenue, or say no to appease a vocal minority who are using this issue to wage a larger fight. It is time for the president to stop holding our economy back and to sign the bill, grant the permit, and greenlight jobs and investment in America.

According to the State Department, the Keystone XL pipeline will create more than 42,000 jobs, add $3.4 billion to the economy, and generate more than $5.2 billion in property taxes for local communities.