The saga of the Keystone Pipeline XL project continues.
The energy company TransCanada Corp., based in Calgary, Alberta, applied for a Presidential Permit to build the proposed 1,179-mile crude oil pipeline more than five years ago, and has received “no new direction” from the State Department regarding approval.
The scrutiny of the project has been tremendous. Shawn Howard, spokesman for TransCanada, informed Human Events:
“[The Keystone Pipeline] has been the subject of more than 100 public meetings, four federal environmental reviews, scrutiny from about two dozen local, state, and federal agencies, and has had more than 15,000 pages of studies on the project published by the U.S. Department of State.”
“We have not received any new direction regarding the potential release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) by the U.S. Department of State,” Howard said. “There’s more than enough technical and scientific information that has been published by the U.S. Department of State to approve Keystone XL, but this is a process that is outside of our control.”
A spokesman for the State Department responded to HE’s query on the status and future of the project:
“The State Department is currently working towards a Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (Final SEIS), addressing issues identified in the more than 1.5 million submissions received during the public comment period, as appropriate. There is no timeline for the release of the Final SEIS. The Department of State continues to review the Presidential Permit application for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline in a rigorous, transparent, and objective manner.”
Meanwhile, Howard reminds us that “more than 9,000 American construction workers are standing by to build this important piece of modern energy infrastructure.
“As frustrating as these delays are for TransCanada and its employees,” Howard said, “it is even more frustrating for more than 9,000 American laborers who have been prevented from using their skills and experience to build Keystone XL. These are the people who are being most directly impacted by these delays, and we just want to put them to work in a profession they have chosen and are very skilled at.”
Along with blocking the creation of thousands of jobs, “millions of dollars in added tax revenues for communities, and enhanced energy security for American refineries,” Howard says the delays have resulted in “a rise in other methods of transporting crude oil that are not as efficient, safe, or environmentally friendly as pipelines.”
CBCNews reports that: “if the Obama administration doesn’t approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, [TransCanada] will look to the more dangerous alternative of building rail terminals in Alberta and Oklahoma.”
Howard went on to say that the administration’s failure to act has forced the U.S. to “continue sourcing larger volumes of crude oil from places like Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria – parts of the world that do not share many of America’s interests and values.”
According to CBCNews, “Obama is expected to decide early this year on Keystone XL,” a decision which many agree will “shape his legacy.”
“We remain hopeful that the publication of the FEIS will occur soon,” Howard said. “It is up to Americans – in business, in labor and the general public to let people know that they continue to support the construction of Keystone XL because they recognize that the oil that this pipeline will transport will benefit Midwest and Gulf Coast refineries, communities and workers and will help modernize the country’s energy infrastructure.”
Teresa Mull is the managing editor of Human Events.