Build the Keystone pipeline, already!

By |2014-02-04T11:34:07+00:00February 3rd, 2014|CFACT Insights|10 Comments

President Obama frequently says he wants to turn the economy around, put America back to work, produce more energy, improve public safety, and open new markets to goods stamped “Made in the USA.” In his State of the Union address he said, if congressional inaction continues, “I will act on my own to slash bureaucracy and streamline the permitting process for key projects, so we can get more construction workers on the job as fast as possible.”

Unfortunately, like Arafat, he never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity to do all these things.

Most Americans are no longer fooled by empty hope and change hype. In December only 74,000 jobs were created (many of them low-paying part-time seasonal positions), while 374,000 more people gave up looking for work. Not surprisingly, recent polls have found that three-quarters of Americans say the country still appears to be in a recession, two-thirds don’t trust the President to make the right decisions for the country, and barely 30% say the nation is “heading in the right direction.”

oilsandspipesThe President needs to use his pen and phone to free our energy, economy, and entrepreneurial instincts. But ANWR, OCS, HF, KXL and other solutions were AWOL from the SOTU. They were sacrificed on the CO2 and CMGW altar, by the POTUS, EPA, DOI, and DOE, in obeisance to the EDF, NRDC, other environmentalist pressure groups, and assorted unelected, unaccountable, unconstitutional autocrats.

(Don’t you love Washington-speak – from the land of acronyms, that pricey patch of real estate on the banks of the Potomac River, bordered by reality and places where people actually work to earn a living, despite presidents and hordes of legislators and regulators doing their level best to make that difficult. For those whose Wash-speak is as bad as their Spanish and German, translations are provided below.)*

Our nation is blessed with vast energy, metallic, mineral, forest, and other resources, waiting to be tapped. But they are locked up in favor of crony-capitalist, eco-unfriendly, land-hungry, subsidy-dependent, nigh-useless pseudo-alternatives that are dearly beloved by utopian environmentalists – and by politicians hungry for campaign contributions from businesses that they repay with billions in other people’s money, taken from taxpayers at the point of an IRS gun to prop up renewable energy schemes.

Our hydrocarbon wealth especially offers amazing benefits: improved human safety, health, welfare, and living standards, in a more stable world, with new sources of jobs, wealth, and income equality. Not tapping these resources is contrary to Obama’s promises and our national interest. It is immoral.

Of all the opportunities arrayed before him, the 1,179-mile Alberta to Texas Keystone XL pipeline (KXL) is the most “shovel ready.” Indeed, it awaits merely a presidential phone call or signature, to slash bureaucratic red tape, streamline the permitting process, and create construction and manufacturing jobs. Some 40,000 jobs in fact – more than half as many as were created nationwide last December.

As I have pointed out before (here, here, here, and here), there are compelling reasons why the President should end this interminable six-years-and-counting dilatory KXL review process – right now.

Jobs. KXL would create an estimated 20,000 construction jobs; another 10,000 in factories that make the steel, pipelines, valves, cement, and equipment needed to build the pipeline; thousands more in hotel, restaurant, and other support industries; and still more jobs in the Canadian, North Dakota, and other oil fields whose output would be transported by the pipeline to refineries and petrochemical plants where still more workers would be employed. With Mr. Obama and his EPA waging war on communities and states that mine and use coal, these jobs are even more important to blue-collar workers in Middle America.

Revenue. States along the pipeline route would receive $5 billion in new property tax revenues, and still more in workers’ income tax payments. Federal coffers would also realize hefty gains.

Safety. Right now most of the oil from Canada’s oil sands and North Dakota’s Bakken shale deposits moves by railroad and truck railcarfuel tanks, often through populated areas. Truck and rail accidents have forced towns to evacuate and even killed 50 people in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. Corporate executives and federal regulators are working to improve tanker designs and reroute traffic. But even despite occasional accidents, pipelines have a much better safety record. KXL would be built with state-of-the-art pipe, valves, and other components, to the latest design, manufacturing, construction, and inspection specifications. It has been configured to avoid population centers, sensitive wildlife areas, and the Ogallala Aquifer.

Resource conservation and energy needs. Building Keystone will help ensure that vast petroleum resources can be efficiently utilized to meet consumer needs. In conjunction with other pipelines, it will greatly reduce the need to flare (burn and waste) natural gas that is a byproduct of oil production in Bakken shale country. The pipelines will also help get propane and natural gas to places that need these fuels. Recent pipeline problems, plus unusually high demands for propane to convert corn to ethanol, created soaring prices and shortages amid one of the nastiest North American cold spells in decades.

KXL will also enable state and private lands to continue contributing to America’s hydrocarbon renaissance. That is especially important in the face of congressional and Obama Administration refusals to open more federal onshore and offshore oil and gas prospects in Alaska and the Lower 48 States.

US-Canadian relations. The endless dithering over KXL has frayed relations between Canada and the United States. It has compelled the Canadians to take decisive steps toward building new pipelines from the Alberta oil sands fields to Superior, Wisconsin … and to Canada’s west coast, for shipment to Asia’s growing economies. Further delays will not reduce oil sands development – only the oil’s destination.

Climate change. In his SOTU speech, President Obama informed us that “climate change is a fact.” Well, duh. It’s been a fact since Earth was formed. The only pertinent issues are these: Are humans causing imminent, unprecedented climate change disasters? And can we control Earth’s climate, by drastically curtailing hydrocarbon use, slashing living standards, and switching to renewables?

No evidence supports either proposition. Moreover, oil sands production would add a minuscule 0.06% to US greenhouse gas emissions, a tiny fraction of that amount to global carbon dioxide emissions, and an undetectable 0.00002° F (0.00001° C) per year to useless computer-model scenarios for global warming.

A January 24 letter spearheaded by Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) and signed by all 45 Republican Senators notes many of these points and requests that President Obama permit KXL pipeline construction “as soon as possible.” Several Democrats told Hoeven privately that they support his effort and Keystone, but are nervous about challenging the President or Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid publicly.

On January 31, the State Department reaffirmed its previous conclusions that KXL is unlikely to noticeably increase demand for Canadian oil sands or global emissions of carbon dioxide. With reelection behind him, the President has “greater flexibility” and doesn’t need to kowtow to his radical green base. By picking up his pen and phone, cutting off another year-long study of whether Keystone is “in the national interest,” and approving the pipeline, he could satisfy independents and his union base. He’d even reduce CO2 emissions, which State says would be 28%-42% higher if Canada’s oil is shipped via train or truck, instead of through the pipeline.

Democrats are urging unemployed workers to lobby Republicans for extended benefits. They should instead lobby Democrats and the President to do what’s right for America: create the jobs they promised, by approving Keystone – along with drilling, fracking, mining, and reduced taxes and regulations.

America is waiting. Will there finally be real hope and change? Or just more hype and empty rhetoric?


* Acronym translator: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Outer Continental Shelf, hydraulic fracturing, Keystone XL pipeline, absent without leave, State of the Union, carbon dioxide, catastrophic man-made global warming, President of the United States, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of the Interior, Department of Energy, Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council.



  1. Eckenhuijsen Smit February 3, 2014 at 2:28 PM

    Why should anyone listen to Barry Hussein Obama while everything he says are lies.
    He isn’t even a legally elected President who before his illegal election -already in 2008- said that he would bankrupt the US.
    His State of the Union address was a clear example of why you should shove Barry out of any position where he is able to harm you; Americans liberate yourself from this ugly dictator!
    I lived under Hitler’s nazi regime and I can tell you it was no fun; it was really horrible!

  2. Eckenhuijsen Smit February 4, 2014 at 6:29 AM

    Follow up on my former comment: “Barry Hussein Obama, you are shamelessly taking credit for gas and oil production that YOU DID ALL IN YOUR POWER TO THWART”.
    This ugly truth was taken from PJ Daily Digest and should be repeated until the ugly dictator Barry vanishes for ever out of sight of the many millions of good Americans!

  3. jameshrust February 4, 2014 at 4:29 PM

    Great posting. This is a shovel-ready construction job that needs to be pushed immediately. In addition, the pipeline is the safest and most energy efficient means for transporting oil.
    The pipeline will carry more than 800,000 barrels per day. A tanker carries 800 barrels of oil which weighs 12 tons. Thus one thousand tankers are needed daily to carry this much oil. They travel at least 1000 miles and have to return empty to pick up new loads. Thus the daily transportation load is 1000 x 12 x 1000 = 12 million ton-miles for delivery of oil. Ford has claimed modern rail transportation can deliver 500 ton-miles per gallon of diesel fuel. So delivery of oil will account for 24,000 gallons of diesel fuel. Return of empty tankers must account for a quarter of that fuel use. Therefore, Keystone XL will save 30,000 gallons of diesel fuel daily. This equates to 11 million gallons of diesel fuel per year or 260,000 barrels per year. Pipelines must transport oil at ten percent the energy demand. They use electricity as an energy source that may be carbon dioxide free nuclear power or hydroelectric.
    Adding this additional oil to our energy supply may reduce the price of transportations fuels for the U. S. When discussing wholesale prices of crude oil, the benchmarks are WTI (West Texas Intermediate) and Brent (Offshore oil near Norway). Brent is usually $12 a barrel higher than WTI which is one of the reasons Americans pay less for gasoline than Europeans. Lower gas prices will add the U. S. economy.
    James H. Rust, Professor of nuclear engineering

  4. jameshrust February 4, 2014 at 4:57 PM

    The State Department issued their report no problems building The KXL pipeline February 1. The environmental movement is already making moves to get an enormous outpouring of letters to President Obama to kill the pipeline. The were able to generate over one million letters sent to the EPA in the Spring of 2012 offering support for their proposed carbon pollution standards for future power plants.

    Here is an example of solicitations to kill KXL. Supporters lack the kill instinct to stand up for KXL. From Interfaith Power & Light (IPL) we have:



    This is critical. President Obama has said that he would only approve the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline if it does not “significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.” Well, he now has everything he needs to reject the pipeline once and for all.

    On Friday, the State Department released its review of the pipeline’s impacts and shockingly downplayed the impacts to the climate. However, even this compromised document — compiled by a contractor with ties to Big Oil — couldn’t deny that tar sands oil is more carbon intensive than regular crude.

    We must urge the president to oppose this pipeline on moral grounds right now.

    We’ve turned our letter to President Obama into a hard-hitting ad that tells the real truth about the destruction the pipeline will cause.

    But we need your help to reach critical decision-makers before it’s too late. To run this ad in Politico, a must-read for Washington, we must raise $9,000 by February 7. You’ve supported IPL before – will you stand with people of faith across the country and donate again today to help us get there?

    Click here now to donate again today and help us raise $9,000 by February 7 so that we can run our ad against the Keystone XL in a key Washington newspaper.

    We’re taking action at a critical time; late last year, the U.S. approved a separate 1,900-mile long pipeline that will help Canada refine tar sands oil. If the Keystone XL is approved as well, it would endanger farmland, wildlife, drinking water and human lives all along its 1,000-mile route – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and for 50 years into the future if we don’t stop it.

    We can’t let the pipeline take that risk with our health, our climate and our nation’s heartland just to benefit Big Oil.

    I know that when we come together to take action as a faith community, people listen. To spread our message by running our ad in Politico, we must raise $9,000 by February 7. Please, join us today by giving $5 or more for us to show leaders in Washington how firmly we as people of faith stand in opposition to the Keystone XL – donate now.Today – right now – stand with faith communities throughout our country to make a difference and block the Keystone XL by giving $5 or more to help us reach our goal of $9,000 by February 7th.

    By preserving creation and protecting our world, we are truly doing God’s work. Thank you for all of your support and friendship.

    All my best,


  5. 4TimesAYear February 5, 2014 at 10:25 PM
  6. mikess February 12, 2014 at 5:59 PM

    Here’s an idea, since this is a finite energy source, why not leave it where it is and use the rest of the World’s oil & gas. That way, we save our supplies for the day when no one else has any. No new production will change the price since the daily price is based on World supply and demand and that demand is increasing faster than new production due to development in China and India. We don’t have any assurances that this oil & gas will remain in the US. It will most likely be shipped overseas. Peaceful protest is a part of America, like the gun. These citizens have every right to protest & if they violate any laws, they should be prosecuted. The writers here who say that President Obama is in office illegally are never going to believe the facts where he is concerned. If he has performed illegal and/or unconstitutional acts, why have none of the big dollar conservative groups filed suit? Why have no Republican prosecutors not filed criminal charges? You don’t have to like the President, but it serves no purpose making unfounded, ridiculous allegations. Save that energy for causes you can effect.

    • Kent2012 February 12, 2014 at 10:06 PM

      kenyan boy is an islamy loving communist….it makes no difference where this african pretender was born, he attended muslim schools, enrolled in the US as a foreign student and associated with communists and had a terrorist write “his” biography….It makes not a whit what happens to the oil, oh by the way domestic oil is not supposed to be sold overseas, the pipeline and the components that go into it are manufactured right here and while the line is being built millions will be spent by the contractors and those fortunate enough to have the skills that it takes to have a good paying job in those cities and states that this line will go through….oh and your comment about him doing nothing unconstitutional, you apparently have been asleep for the last 5 plus years except to go vote for the clown……

  7. Pappy Hicks February 12, 2014 at 9:28 PM

    I’m from Texas, age 80. We have underground oil and natural gas lines zig-zaging all through our state. They have been here for years. No problems. Barry Hussein Obama is not interested in our country, because it’s not his. He is interested in his “lords” from the mid-East and does not want to take their OPEC power away from them. Oh no. Do not injury his love of his muslim brothers.

  8. [email protected] February 14, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    Thanks Craig !!!! What a hilarious bunch of Morons !! We do understand recent scientific study/experiments, with positive results, proves that Methane injection is now used to decontaminate water wells for drinking, but this was always God’s design in our aquifers to purify water in them, as Methane is always present at the bottom of them. Methane at the bottom of our oceans fulfilled the same role in keeping our oceans safe for the life that lives in them. Methane disrupted by Fracking would only clean up the water wells above it in an accidental release. Also in an accidental release it would multiply microbial growth above it and then these microbes would now add Nitrogen, out of the air in the soil to enhance farming.
    Man made Global Warming/Climate Change here is a false science and those that believe it isolate themselves in these scientific circles socially mentally ill and now Baker Actable because for their recent display here threatening Environmental Terrorism to the Keystone Pipeline. Their message is clearly enemy to the United States and our Prosperity.
    On another issue Global Warmers are still flouting lies about the Great Barrier Reef off Australia’s northern Coast, claiming that CO2 is responsible. CO2 in the atmosphere is a mild warming agent in comparison to Sulfur Dioxides ability to cool which is far more extreme than Ozone. Methane, CO2 and other dissolved gasses in our Ocean’s are a Refrigerant to the oceans and could never be a warming agent. When those noble gasses move up in a column of water, where pressure drops, they behave the same way Refrigerant does in the Evaporator of your Air Conditioner that keep you cool. In their isolated circles of social Mental illness they very soon forget that the Starfish Crown Of Thorns was responsible for the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef as they were following an excess of Nitrogen in the waters coming from Farming of Sugar Cane and fertilizers that were being used at the time. So once again they are all over National Public Radio flouting their demented Alzheimer’s views of The Great Barrier Reef. Clearly this is a Mental Disorder of isolation from reality, had the nitrogen in the water not been stopped from fertilizer the Barrier Reef was doomed. And just how the destruction of that Reef continued, but by the Global Warmers hands, and the flouting of their continuous lies.
    Had it not been for the Wright Brothers, understanding of this kind of behavior, in Universities of the world of the time used Total security in their invention, flight was not possible. Yet the Wright Brothers did not isolate themselves from their false science, but were fluently read on it. The development of the wing and the moving of its fulcrum curve on top forward was proven against a German University’s professor’s false science. With the first wind tunnel developed by the Wright Brothers disproved his findings. It was done in security but not isolation of intellectualism.
    Isolation of Intellectualism is a Scientific Mental Disorder !!!!!!!

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