One would think that a President harping on building infrastructure and creating jobs would mention a major project in his budget. However, even though President’s budget calls for an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, the Keystone XL pipeline is not mentioned.
With the only first of a series of public hearings on the State Department’s latest Keystone XL pipeline Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) scheduled to take place next week in Nebraska, pipeline supporters have ramped up efforts to get this critical project built.
David Mallino of the Laborers International Union of North America pleaded with subcommittee members to support the legislation and “clear away roadblocks” to this project. Mr. Mallino pointed out that this project will provide opportunities for many different craftsmen, and that this pipeline will be built by union members and would result in millions of man hours.
Mallino went on to say, “This project is not just a pipeline; it is, in fact, a lifeline.”
Also at the hearing, Keith Stelter, Co-Owner of Delta Industrial Valves, told committee members, “If the Keystone XL pipeline can be built, I would see my company probably doubling in size over the next 10 years because of the oil sands projects that were cancelled or put ‘on hold’ being brought to life again.”
As we debate in the U.S., Canada isn’t keeping quiet. Alberta Premier Alison Redford visited Washington, DC to talk up the Keystone XL pipeline. In her fourth visit to Washington to sell the pipeline and her province’s environmental record, she warned that a rejection of the pipeline by the administration could hurt U.S.-Canada relations.
The U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy added to the discussion by sending comments to the State Department regarding its recent DSEIS that highlight the economic, energy security, and environmental arguments for the pipeline. Here’s a summary:
Keystone XL Means More Jobs
According to the State Department’s estimates, during construction, Keystone XL will create 3,900 construction jobs, and 42,100 direct and indirect jobs. TransCanada will spend $3.3 billion on construction materials for the pipeline. American companies will supply much of this.
In addition, the pipeline will continue the development of Canadian oil sands. With Canada and the United States connected economically, this continued development will support American workers who will supply goods and services to Canadian oil developers.
Finally, we can’t forget the positive impact Keystone XL will have on local communities. Upon completion, TransCanada, owner of the pipeline, will be one of the largest property taxpayers in Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska, and will pay $5.2 billion in property taxes to state and local communities.
Keystone XL Means More Energy Security
The 800,000 barrels per day of oil from Canada’s oil sands means less dependency on areas such as the Middle East and Africa and will move North America closer to energy self sufficiency.
Along with Canadian oil, Keystone XL will move 100,000 barrels per day of oil produced from the Bakken region in North Dakota and Montana. This will only fuel (pun intended) the boom happening there.
Keystone XL Has Been Exhaustively Studied
Most of the pipeline has been under environmental review for more than five years. The latest State Department’s latest study, the DSEIS, reaffirms that “there will be no significant impacts to most resources along the proposed Project route.”
The Energy Institute notes that a new route avoids Nebraska’s Sandhills region and has earned the approval of Nebraska’s governor and the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality. It also notes that “public citizens, governments, Tribal governments, and non-governmental organizations have all taken part in the review process.”
We’ve waited long enough. It’s time to build this important piece of energy infrastructure.
How can you help get this job-creating pipeline built? Sign the petition and share it with your friends.
When you're done signing the petition, read this Popular Mechanics on building the pipeline.
Imagine a United States with no operating nuclear plants. Let’s shed some light on this.
Gregory B. Jaczko, former Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for President Obama, is calling for the phase out all 104 U.S. nuclear reactors. That would take 19% of the nation’s electricity production offline.
That much generating capacity taken offline would be devastating to the economy. Alternatives would have to be found, but because of this administration’s War on Coal, coal-fired plants wouldn’t be on that list. Wind and solar might help at times, but they cannot substitute for baseload electricity generation. Hydroelectric power isn’t evenly-distributed across the United States and has limited scalability. That leaves reliance on natural gas.
Yes, there’s much to be said about the boom from shale gas. It has created hundreds of thousands of jobs, tens of billions in government revenue and improved American energy security. However, it’s not wise to put all your eggs in one electrical basket. There are infrastructure concerns. In comments to EPA in 2012, the Edison Electric Institute noted that “increased demands on gas pipeline capacity and storage facilities may raise local reliability and related concerns that require greater diversity in electric generation supply.”
Let’s look at New England as a real-world example. The New York Times reports that in 2012, 52% of electricity in the region was produced by natural gas. However, because of a “shortage of natural gas pipeline capacity,” the region is “the most vulnerable now to overreliance on gas.” Jay Apt who runs the Electricity Industry Center at Carnegie Mellon University told the Times:
It is certainly true that a region like New England that relies on a single fuel source like natural gas for the bulk of its power does leave itself open for more disruptions than a region with a more diverse fuel mix. It’s not a knock against natural gas; it’s a knock against a single fuel source.
Reliable electricity needs a variety of fuel sources. Taking an entire category offline, especially an emissions-free and safe source like nuclear, doesn’t make sense.
Developers of a coal-fired power plant in Georgia said they are in a “dead sprint” to start building their new plant to be exempted before new Environmental Protection Agency emissions regulations are finalized on April 13.
Allied Energy Services, the developer of the Plant Washington coal facility near Sandersville, Ga., needs to have began construction on the coal plant by April 13 in order to be exempted from a new EPA rule that limits carbon dioxide emissions to 1,000 pounds-per-megawatt-hour for new power plants — a standard that can only be met by combined-cycle power plants that are powered by natural gas.
The rule has been criticized for effectively banning the construction of new coal-fired power plants, because they are too carbon intensive to meet the stricter emissions limits. The only way for coal plants to comply with the stricter standard would be to use carbon capture and sequestration technology, which is not commercially viable.
According to the environmental law firm, Beveridge and Diamond, “the rule would amount to an effective ban on new coal-fired power plants, as well as imposing severe restrictions on modification of existing plants.”
“The administration is using this new rule to accomplish what Congress refused to impose on the economy when it rejected cap-and-trade legislation,” said Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski. “The result will be higher electricity prices and less reliable generation in addition to the high gasoline prices Americans are already struggling to afford.”
However, the Washington Post reported that the EPA may rewrite the rule and miss the April 13 deadline to finalize it.
“It’s critical to get this standard out without delay and get onto the standards for existing sources,” David Doniger, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, told the Washington Post. “The deadline is coming, and if the deadline isn’t met they should expect groups like ours will take legal action to meet their responsibility.”
The Macon Telegraph reports that a delay in issuing new plant emissions rules could add to the regulatory uncertainty that has caused other coal plant projects around the country to be abandoned.
This article was originally published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Thanks go out to Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).
Really. This isn't a late April Fools joke. I really mean it.
Through his attempt to raise taxes on our sputtering economy, he helped make the case, as explained by the Institute for Policy Innovation’s Merrill Matthews in the Wall Street Journal, that “special tax breaks just for the oil and gas industry don't exist.”
Ironically, he did this by crafting special provisions that apply just to the oil and gas industry. Matthews explains one section of the “Stop the Sequester Job Loss Now Act”:
Section 199 is part of the domestic production activities deduction that was included in the American Job Creation Act of 2004, which passed with strong bipartisan support, especially in the Senate. It currently provides a 9% tax deduction from net income for businesses engaged in "qualified production activities" in the U.S. Those activities include manufacturing a product, selling, leasing or licensing it, and engineering and software activities related to that production. The deduction was intended to encourage domestic manufacturing, and in the hope that the tax break could provide a slight competitive advantage against foreign competition.
I’m sure the Congressman is aware that the oil and gas industry is a big player in American manufacturing and I’m also sure the Congressman knows that the oil and gas industry is treated less fairly because in Matthews' words, “Congress already penalizes the industry by only giving it a 6% deduction, rather than the 9% that other industries receive.”
Matthews goes on to note how the Van Hollen bill would bar first-in-first-out inventory accounting for oil and gas companies and declare that energy royalties paid to foreign countries by American companies couldn’t be considered a tax and receive a tax credit to avoid double taxation on income earned overseas.
All these “special punishments” (to use Matthews’ words) would only apply to oil and gas companies.
At the end of his op-ed, Matthews drops this kicker that crushes the lie that the Congressman uses an excuse for his bill and that the President, and others relentlessly make: American oil and gas companies do not pay enough in taxes. The fact is they’re paying billions:
USA Today just published the top-10 list of companies that paid the highest U.S. income taxes as of 2012, and oil industry companies took three of the slots. Number one was Exxon Mobil at $31 billion, followed by Chevron at $20 billion, and sixth was ConocoPhillips at $8 billion. That is about $60 billion in taxes among them, more than the other seven companies on the list—including Apple and Microsoft —combined.
Like a Jenga stack, this talking point crashes to the ground.
Thanks for helping to clarify things, Congressman.
A Pew Research Center poll found that 66% of Americans favor building the Keystone XL pipeline that would move Canadian oil to the United States.
Mark Green at Energy Tomorrow pulls out some stats to show the widespread support:
This poll jibes well with a Fox News poll released last month that found that 70% support for Keystone XL with similar broad demographic support.
This bipartisan backing is reflected in the U.S. Senate. During the Senate’s recent “Vote-a-rama” 17 Democrats joined all 45 Republicans in voting for a budget amendment backing Keystone XL. In addition, both the labor and business communities support Keystone XL. The only people staunchly opposed are anti-energy zealots who plan to “go crazy” and protest President Obama in California.
By the State Department’s estimates over 40,000 jobs will be supported by Keystone XL’s construction.
This pipeline has been studied for years, and every time it has been found to be safe. There is widespread, bipartisan support. Keystone XL’s delays have gone long enough. It’s time to build this pipeline.