The Energy and Commerce’s Energy and Power Subcommittee held a hearing today on Rep. Lee Terry’s H.R. 3, the Northern Route Approval Act. This legislation would deem all environmental requirements completed and would no longer require the President to sign a permit to approve the pipeline.
This was the subcommittee’s third hearing in the past several years on the Keystone XL project. Those in support of the pipeline emphasized the positive economic impact of the pipeline in terms of jobs, manufactured goods, increased tax revenues and the increased energy security. Those opposing the project emphasized climate change, reducing the carbon footprint, the refining of heavy oil and the ongoing reliance on fossil fuel.
However, there were a few nuggets worth repeating.
Chairman Whitfield noted that that manufactures and businesses have reduced carbon emissions on the environment over that last 20 years.
David Mallino of the Laborers International Union of North America pleaded with subcommittee members to support the legislation and “clear away roadblocks” to this project. Mr. Mallino pointed out that this project will provide opportunities for many different craftsmen, and that this pipeline will be built by union members and would result in millions of man hours.
Alexander Pourbaix, President of Energy and Oil Pipelines at TransCanada, told the committee that the majority of the steel for Keystone XL was coming from U.S. and Canadian companies, and that they have already purchased $1.5 to $2 billion dollars in steel pipes and that the remainder of the steel for the pipeline would be purchased from U.S. companies. The southern portion of the pipeline is currently undergoing construction, and is employing 5,000 workers. 60% of the southern portion of the pipeline is already complete at a cost of $2.5 to $3 billion dollars.
Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE 2) stated that the opposition to these kinds of projects continues to file lawsuits at every turn and know that if they can cause a delay they have a better chance of killing projects.
It’s also worth noting that in the Obama Administration’s budget that was released today there was no mention of Keystone XL. The NAM remains strongly committed to this Keystone XL and we believe it is good not only for its short term economic impacts but for our nation’s long term energy security. We will continue to encourage the President to approve this project as soon as possible.
Chip Yost is assistant vice president of energy and resources policy, National Association of Manufacturers.
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