Leadership from the President on the Keystone XL pipeline is long overdue. This week, the House of Representatives will vote on the Northern Route Approval Act. As leaders of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and cosponsors of this important legislation, we were proud to play a vital role in moving this bill forward to end the years of delay and make this job-creating project a reality.
It’s not fair that Washington is standing in the way of jobs. Tapping into North American energy would reduce gas prices, create American jobs, and put us on a course to energy independence. The Northern Route Approval Act will put an end to years of bureaucratic delays and finally allow construction of the Keystone XL pipeline project.
The President’s own State Department estimates that Keystone XL will produce over 42,000 jobs – jobs that will not be created unless this project goes forward. When unemployment remains near 8 percent, putting that many Americans back to work is compelling enough, but the benefits of the pipeline will go beyond job creation.
This privately funded project, which doesn’t require one federal dollar to build, will inject billions of dollars into the American economy. According to State Department estimates, $3.3 billion in direct spending for construction and materials and $2.1 billion in earnings will result. An estimated $585 million in state and local taxes along the pipeline route will be paid during construction, and an estimated $5.2 billion in property taxes will be generated during the operating life of the pipeline. This is revenue that communities can use to improve their schools, pay for emergency services, and maintain infrastructure.
Building Keystone XL would also decrease our reliance on politically unstable nations for energy and increase the diversity of our oil supplies.
The pipeline will transport 830,000 barrels of North American oil per day from Canada, North Dakota, and Montana south to U.S. refineries on the Gulf of Mexico. This equates to nearly half of U.S. imports from the Middle East. Canada, already the United States’ largest and most reliable trading partner, is not a member of OPEC, the global oil cartel that includes Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Venezuela. Sourcing more of our energy needs just north of our border is clearly in our national interest.
But the clock is ticking. The longer the President delays the pipeline, the greater the opportunity for China and other countries to out-compete the United States and gain access to Canada’s oil supply.
The Keystone XL pipeline is the most extensively studied and vetted project of its kind in the history of this country. Congress and the President must act now to move forward with this project and put Americans back to work, increase our energy security, and give the Nation a welcome economic shot in the arm.
— Jeff Denham (R-CA) is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials.