Help Bring Canadian Oil to American Refineries

By:  Ann Shibler
08/25/2011
       
Help Bring Canadian Oil to American Refineries

The North American-Made Energy Security Act would direct the President to expedite the approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

The situation in the Middle East — highly volatile, complex, dangerous, and on-going for centuries — should be impetus enough for Americans to want to completely extricate themselves from any Middle East oil dependency, not to mention Mexican and Venezuelan oil. There is a private Canadian company, TransCanada Corporation, that has applied for licenses and permits to bring oil from rich Canadian reserves to refineries in Texas via a new state-of-the-art pipeline with technologically new safety enhancements. The Keystone Project XL would be a boon to America’s crude oil imports, as the plan is to send 700,000 barrels-per-day (and up to 830,000 bpd if pumping capacity is increased) south to Texas refineries. However, it’s going to be up to the State Department to recommend an appropriate action to the President, as the pipeline crosses the border between Canada and the United States. Then, the project would either be approved or denied by the President alone via an executive order.

The North American-Made Energy Security Act, H.R. 1938, isn’t a piece of regular legislation that would create a law. It only directs the President to “expedite the consideration and approval of the construction and operation of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, and for other purposes.” The text of H.R. 1938 cites the fact that more than half of U.S. oil imports are from hostile countries and therefore disruptions in the geopolitical status of any of those countries would have devastating consequences for oil import levels and/or would lead to unacceptable increases in oil prices. It would behoove the U.S., in the interests of national security, to advance the Keystone XL pipeline.

The privately-funded $13 billion project’s length is almost 1,700 miles with a 36-inch underground pipeline running from Alberta, Canada, where the oil sands are located, extending southeast through Saskatchewan, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas to Cushing, Oklahoma (part of the Keystone II project already in service since February 2011), before continuing through Oklahoma to a delivery point near existing terminals in Nederland, Texas, to serve the Port Arthur, Texas, marketplace. The State Department’s own newly-released report is favorable in its analysis, having incorporated every imaginable environmental impact study, and demographic and geographic study, into the findings that show it would have little environmental impact.

However, environmentalist pipeline protesters have been extremely vocal in their opposition and staged a protest at the White House, with 65 arrested over the weekend.They claim damaging spills are inevitable and predict horrible environmental effects will result.  But the State Department’s report says, "Most spills would occur and be contained within or in close association with the proposed pipeline ROW [Right of Way] or associated infrastructure, including construction yards, pump stations, and maintenance yards. These spills would typically be very small (less than 42 gallons [1bbl]) and would likely be promptly cleaned up as required by federal, state, and local regulations." As explained in a Wall Street Journal article “Jobs in the Pipeline,” U.S. greens are demonizing “tar sands” as the origin of this oil similar to how they've treated Alaskan oil sources in their green mythology, and insist that obtaining oil from tar sands is greenhouse-gas intensive.

On the other hand, Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Green Peace, backs this oil exportation plan from Canada and counter-claims that green extremists are engaging in unfair propaganda. He explains in detail the numerous reasons why this oil is not “dirty,” that the steam cleaning is safe, the mining is safe, the transportation method the safest, and that it is also economically good for Canada and the U.S. Furthermore, if the U.S. President denies permission, the Canadians will sell the crude oil to China instead. 

Our friendly neighbors to the north are the best choice for an oil trading partner. Contact your Representative and Senators and have them support this win-win oil pipeline project, one that would bring crude oil into the States safely, would greatly reduce our dependency on oil from dictatorships and hostile countries, and that would create over 13,000 new jobs, mostly union, and over 118,000 spin-off jobs. The individual states the pipeline would run through would see increased tax revenues and an increase in property tax collections. The Gulf Coast refineries would have lower transport costs, saving them approximately $473 million annually, which in turn would lead to lower gas prices. What's not to like?

On July 26 the House passed H.R. 1938 by a vote of 279 to 147. On July 28, H.R. 1938 was read for the second time in the Senate and placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders.

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