Guest Post by Chip Yost, Asst. VP, Energy & Resources Policy, National Association of Manufacturers
Access to affordable energy sources is essential to the long-term prosperity of the U.S. economy and workforce The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) supports an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy that utilizes the vast resources readily available to us in North America. We believe that supporting the development of North American energy will strengthen our economy, and create jobs.
The Keystone XL pipeline is a fortuitous opportunity for the U.S. to secure a reliable source of energy from a key ally – Canada. Increasing our imports of crude oil from Canada’s oil sands is the next logical step in ensuring security on every front. Rather than relying on less stable regions of the world, we will instead strengthen our ties with our largest trading partner.
In fact, Canada is already our number one supplier of imported crude; they supply us with one quarter (or 2.4 million barrels per day) of our crude oil imports. With Keystone XL, that number could reach four million barrels per day by 2020. American manufacturers are already actively involved in the further development of the oil sands by providing supplies and services in Canada, or pipelines and refineries in the U.S. Even more, according to a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll, the majority of Americans (62 percent) are in favor of the pipeline, thereby allowing a greater amount of Canadian crude to enter the U.S.
Keystone XL is a $5.2 billion project that will create approximately 9,000 construction jobs. Additionally, the Gulf Coast Project, a $2.3 billion endeavor, will create approximately 4,000 jobs in the construction sector. These economic drivers, combined with additional job creation in the service, retail, distribution and other related sectors, will help lower the unemployment rate, especially in states along the pipeline route.
NAM has been a vocal supporter of lawmakers urging the White House to further cultivate nearby resources, writing letters to President Obama alongside other trade associations and collecting comments for the State Department’s review of Keystone XL’s environmental impact. We believe the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline will go a long way toward boosting U.S. manufacturing output. Each year, the domestic manufacturing sector produces $1.8 trillion (12.2 percent) of our GDP, and directly impacts 12 million high-paying American jobs, making up nine percent of the total national workforce.
Supporting our manufacturing sector will help drive economic growth, and supporting the development of Canadian oil sands will allow us to do so while simultaneously enhancing our energy independence. The next logical step is to utilize the readily available resources in Canada’s vast oil sands in order to put North America on track to be a world leader in both manufacturing and energy production.