It’s not often officials from the nation’s largest business lobby and an AFL-CIO affiliated union speak to one another let alone work together. The US Chamber of ommerce and N. America’s buildings trades unions held a joint press conference on Capital hill in support of the Keystone XL Pipeline that would bring oil to the Gulf. Exactly 5 years after TransCanada Corp applied for a permit to build the pipeline, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing whose title said it all; “Keystone’s red tape anniversary: five years of Bureaucratic delay and economic benefits denied”
Statements ranged from puzzlement to pique that the Obama adm still hadn’t authorized TransCanada application Keystone’s five year review has taken “far longer than any other cross-border pipeline and more than twice as long as it will take to build the pipeline”. Building Trades president Sean McGarvey said, Luician Pugiaresi, president of the Energy Research Foundation declared at the hearing, “it’s not something that should have created all this furor.”
This is a $12 billion venture that would move nearly 1,000,000 barrels of oil a day.
Now obama has suggested that the ultimate authority. The state department released its final environmental impact report two years ago, finding Keystone would have “no significant impacts.” The president insisted then that more research needed to be done and recently told the NYT that it was “John Kerry’s decision or recommendation” that would finally end the debate. (HOW’S THAT FOR PASSING THE BUCK)
State is involved only because the pipeline would cross an international border. Refiners say Canadian oil could replace up to half the 2 million barrels imported each day to the Gulf from less friendly countries. Consulting group HIS CERA reports, “that if the tar sands don’t come from Canada then it will be SHIPPED to Venezuela”, and unfriendly dictatorship. The Chinese government has already begun making purchases in an attempt to secure these resources for itself. If the adm rejects Keystone it’s likely that Canadian oil will instead be sent (SHIPPED) to china. Environmentalists haven’t explained how shipping oil across the Pacific by boat will result in a smaller carbon footprint than piping it down to LA.
The presidents own State Dept. estimated that the initial construction period of the pipeline would result in over 42,000 jobs a year. Obama claims that “this might create maybe 2000 jobs during the construction” and “between 50-100 jobs” afterwards.
Lobbyist representing more that 50 groups have spent $1 million in TV ads alone this year, after spending almost $16 million during the election, “making it one of Washington’s most protracted and pricey lobbying campaigns.”
Americans want the pipeline approved by a two-to-one margin, Pew found 66% in favor.
Sources—weekly standard, Kelly jane Torrance, nyt, Bloomberg, forbes