Building the Keystone XL Pipeline is in the best interests of working - and driving - Americans

Aug 25, 2013

“What we can’t afford to do is blow the opportunity to make the right — and clear cut — call. It’s time to build the Keystone XL Pipeline. Now. “ U.S. Rep. Candice Miller

Editor’s note: The following guest editorial was written by U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Twp. She represents the 10th Congressional District that includes Lapeer and St. Clair counties.

Many of the decisions the leaders of our country are called upon to make, particularly those involving national security, are close calls, with compelling arguments on both sides and significant downside risk for miscalculation. Building the secure infrastructure to support our energy needs is not one of them.

The case for authorizing a new petroleum pipeline, popularly known as the Keystone XL Pipeline, linking Canada’s western oil fields with U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast is clear cut.

During construction, the Keystone XL Pipeline would create an estimated 20,000 good-paying American jobs. Upon completion, the pipeline could carry up to 830,000 barrels a day of crude oil (an amount equal to roughly half of what we import from the volatile and often hostile Middle East).

It would be the safest, most advanced pipeline in the world. And, most importantly, it would help stem the rising cost of gasoline for ordinary Americans, like those I represent in the 10th Congressional District of Michigan, who are currently paying nearly $4 a gallon or more for the fuel they need to live, work and, hopefully, travel across our great state and nation.

For two years now, the only thing blocking the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline is approval from President Barack Obama (required because the pipeline would cross an international border).

In 2011, after his own State Department conducted a lengthy environmental review and recommended authorization — citing limited environmental impact and finding it to be in the national interest — the President first stalled, then denied the permit. In 2012, the pipeline’s developers, TransCanada, re-applied. And the President re-equivocated, announcing his support for southern legs of the pipeline (which did not require presidential authorization) and calling for more State Department review. In March of this year, the State Department again issued a finding of limited environmental impact.

The President’s response? Silence. Until late June when he announced in a speech on climate change the Keystone will only be approved only if it “does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.”

What he means by that is anybody’s guess. Since virtually every comprehensive review concluded that all of the likely alternatives to the Keystone XL Pipeline will result in more “carbon pollution” than would be created by building it, many in the industry concluded President Obama was ready to sign off. Global warmists, who applauded the President’s determination to unilaterally impose crippling limits on America's energy industry overall (and, by extension, on our economy), declared the Keystone project dead.

I say it’s time for the President to put the interests of working — and driving — Americans ahead of his environmental extremist supporters.

If the Keystone XL Pipeline is not constructed Canadian oil will still be extracted, the oil will still be transported (often by riskier rail and road freight carriers), refined and used (probably by the Chinese). It just won’t be for the benefit of Americans.

In June, a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives adopted legislation which would lift the requirement for presidential approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline. The Senate should follow suit. In the alternative, the President should do the right thing.

What we can’t afford to do is blow the opportunity to make the right — and clear cut — call. It’s time to build the Keystone XL Pipeline. Now.