The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted on the bill that will approve the Keystone XL pipeline this past Wednesday, June 18th, 2014. The bill was approved in the panel, but it is unclear whether or not it will pass in the entire Senate.
The Keystone Pipeline bill is a proposed bill that would build a link between Hardisty, Alberta and Steele City, Nebraska, passing through Baker, Montana, for a total length of 1,179 miles. In addition to carrying oil from Canada, oil produced in American would be added to the pipeline in Baker.
The environmental impact that the pipeline would have has been a highly contested issue in the discussion over the approval or objection to the Keystone Pipeline. Environmental groups have cited damage to migratory birds and water supplies as a reason to not build the pipeline.
Originally, the pipeline was schedule to go through Ogallala Aquifer, a water reservoir that spans eight states and provides drinking water to approximately 1.9 million people. Many environment groups stated that a major leak would ruin the drinking water and ruin the agricultural industries that use the water for irrigation. Hydrologist James Goeke, a professor at the University of Nebraska, stated that, “a leak from the XL pipeline would pose a minimal risk to the aquifer as a whole” and that we should approve the pipeline while simultaneously implementing an aggressive national policy that mandates energy efficiencies and finances the development of alternative energy sources for transportation.” TransCanada even changed their planned pipeline route to avoid the aquifer.
The United States State Department released a report stating that, “the analyses of potential impacts associated with construction and normal operation of the proposed Projects suggest that there would be no significant impacts to most resources along the proposed Project corridor…” in a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) in August of 2011, reassuring environmental groups that the pipeline would be safe.
In the past, Russ Girling, the President and CEO of TransCanada, stated that the project would, “put [ting] 20,000 US workers to work,” citing a study by The Perryman Group. The more recent financial and environmental analysis written and published by the U.S. State department in January of this year stated that, “spending would support approximately 42,100 jobs (direct, indirect, and induced) and approximately $2 billion in earnings throughout the United States.” Also, due to higher revenues from oil sale in Canada, the Canadian dollar is expected to appreciate. Historically, when the Canadian dollar has appreciated, there is a reduction in manufacturing employment in Canada, upon which, that work is outsourced to American manufacturers south of the Canadian border. It is estimated that this could create as many as 75,000 jobs for Americans.
It is of utmost important that Keystone XL Pipeline bill is approved and passed. It has been proven that it will not have an adverse effect on the environment. It will create jobs inside our borders that America desperately needs. It will help America on its path of energy independence from the volatile Middle East region. The Keystone Pipeline is exactly what America needs right now.