The Keystone XL Pipeline
Yesterday, President Obama and his administration rejected a permit application that would have allowed for the construction of the 1,700 mile Keystone XL Pipeline. With this decision, President Obama confirmed what many Texans have feared — that he cares more about politics than sound economic policy.
If constructed, the $7 billion Keystone XL Pipeline would have the capacity to transport over 800,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Canada to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast. The National Association of Manufacturers estimated the privately funded pipeline would have created 20,000 direct jobs and 118,000 spinoff jobs. At a time when Texas' unemployment rate hovers at 8.5 percent, private sector projects like this are the key to getting thousands of unemployed Texans back to work.
These new jobs would have created an additional $20 billion in private sector spending and would have increased tax revenue for pipeline corridor states by $5.2 billion. In Texas, it was anticipated that construction associated with the project would stimulate the economy to the tune of $2.3 billion in new spending. Consequently, Texas' state and local tax revenues would have increased by almost $50 million.
Not only would constructing the Keystone XL Pipeline have created precious jobs in the midst of a historic economic downturn, but it would have also served America's national security interests. The Canadian oil sands are the 3rd largest known oil reserve in the world behind only Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Securing access to oil from friendly neighbors rather than relying on unstable regimes reduces our nation's unhealthy dependence on foreign oil. The pipeline could reduce the United States' dependence on foreign oil by 8 percent if used to capacity.
President Obama's decision seems to be based more on politics than substance. In a transparent move to placate radical environmentalists, we now run the risk of the Canadian-produced oil being shipped overseas to China, a country not exactly known for adhering to rigid environmental standards. Preventing the Keystone XL Pipeline from being built will neither keep oil in the ground nor lead to a reduction in America's dependence on oil-based energy.
In my role as a State Senator, I have been supportive of augmenting energy sources, and I was instrumental in founding the Bioenergy Policy Council, which works to expand research and development of domestically produced alternative fuels in order to promote economic growth and reduce dependence on foreign energy. However, until we perfect alternative energy technologies, our nation must continue to allow for the creation of projects that will supplement our supply of conflict-free oil.
The bottom line is that the Keystone XL Pipeline, had it not been thwarted by President Obama, would have provided a stable, reliable, affordable source of energy while creating thousands of jobs and billions in private investment. If any subsequent permit applications are denied by this administration, America's economic future and energy independence will remain at risk.
Senator Estes is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and represents Senate District 30 covering Archer, Baylor, Clay, Collin (part), Cooke, Denton (part), Grayson, Jack, Montague, Parker, Palo Pinto, Shackelford, Stephens, Throckmorton, Wichita, Wilbarger, Wise, and Young counties.