A week full of reasons to approve Keystone XL

It’s been a busy week chock full of reasons to approve Keystone XL.

Remember late last year, the New York Times reported that despite the unrest last summer in Egypt, Syria and Libya, American families were not experiencing the oil price shocks that they historically have thanks to the U.S. and Canadian energy boom.  This week, the Wall Street Journal similarly reported that, even as political unrest ensures in Iraq, American families are being subjected to “fewer shocks.”  From the Wall Street Journal:

“The oil-price instability has been playing out broadly since late 2010, when a string of popular political revolutions across the Middle East drove up the price of crude to $113 a barrel from $85 over five months.

Much has changed since the so-called Arab Spring to alter the U.S. energy picture. Advanced technologies such as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, have boosted U.S. crude-oil production by 47% since late 2010. Domestic U.S. oil production in October surpassed imports for the first time in nearly two decades, putting slack into the global oil market and making more crude available at lower prices to countries like China and India.

Canada, too, has made great gains in oil production, so that the U.S. now imports about as much oil from its northern neighbor as from all of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, meaning that the Middle East’s importance to the U.S. energy supply has shrunk.” (emphasis added)

That’s why prominent national security advisors such as General Jim Jones, former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, and Thomas E. Donilon have urged approval of Keystone XL.  That’s also why IHS CERA found that Canadian oil sands are a “key pillar” of our energy security and national security.

The strong bipartisan support for the energy security benefits of Keystone XL was on full display in Congress this week as the Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed Chairman Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) Keystone XL bill out of committee.  As the Washington Examiner reported,

“Landrieu said she held the committee vote for policy reason. She said that Keystone XL could provide jobs, and that it presented an answer to the question of whether United States want to get its energy from Canada, an ally, or less friendly nations.

‘I think the people that I represent, most people in the United States, would rather get their oil from Canada,’ she said, referring to instability in Iraq, though the State Department has said Keystone XL would largely displace Venezuelan heavy crude imports.”

Of course the most notable “no” vote on that bill was from Senator Mark Udall (D-CO).  As we’ve explained before, Senator Udall’s vote could actually be the linchpin for bypassing presidential hurdles to build Keystone XL.  This week, the Denver Post editorial board examined Udall’s “latest dodge on the Keystone XL pipeline” and didn’t exactly approve.  From the Denver Post:

“Earlier this year, the U.S. State Department concluded that the Keystone XL pipeline would have no appreciable effect on greenhouse emissions, and probably result in fewer emissions if oil from Alberta were transported to refineries by other means — as it very likely would be. That’s one of many reasons the pipeline should be built. It’s also a reason there is growing impatience with the Obama administration’s decision to keep pushing back when it announces whether it will give the green light to construction of the 1,700-mile pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast.”

Meanwhile, this week, the Canadian government gave conditional approval to the Northern Gateway pipeline, which will carry oil sands to Canada’s west coast to be exported.  It’s a global marketplace: whether the oil is shipped to the Gulf via vessel or across the ocean, other countries are certainly looking out for their energy future. As Politico reported,

“Tuesday’s decision appears to boost the premise that the oil sands will be developed with or without the Keystone pipeline, since the Northern Gateway would allow oil from Alberta to reach the Pacific Ocean, where it could be shipped to China and other buyers in Asia.”

Again, Chairman Landrieu still put it best when she said the list of reasons to build Keystone XL is “as long as the pipeline itself” – this week was case in point!  

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