This afternoon President Obama toured the facility and spoke at of Ellicott Dredges in Maryland. During his visit the President spoke about the importance of infrastructure projects. He announced a Presidential Memorandum to modernize infrastructure review and permitting regulations, policies and procedures.
Our nation’s infrastructure is in need of investment and repair. Manufacturers rely on our rails, roads, ports and waterways to deliver billions worth of commodities annually. It is a positive step that President Obama is discussing the need for reforms but we need real action to speed up the review process of many infrastructure projects. The environmental streamlining reforms in the Water Resources Development Act, which passed the Senate this week, are the types of reforms that we would need to see for future projects.
Just yesterday Peter Bowe, President and CEO of Ellicott Dredge Enterprises, testified before the House Small Business Subcommittee on Agriculutre, Energy and Trade about the benefits of Keystone XL.
“So what does the Keystone pipeline have to do with us, and why do we care? For us, it’s all about jobs, not construction jobs for the pipeline itself, but ongoing jobs every year for decades to come, all related to the production of oil from the Alberta oil sands deposits. This oil needs the Keystone pipeline. The oil sands in Alberta are one of the largest markets worldwide for dredging equipment. Our dredges are used to rehandle the tailings generated by the mining process. Tailings are the wet waste which is a combination of clay, sand, and water after the oil- bearing bitumen has been removed. All the oil sands projects generate substantial amounts of tailings which are deposited into ponds. Oil sands producers have been criticized for water usage, but now, thanks to tailings reclamation, they recycle 85% to 90% of water used, and dredges are an integral part of the recycling process.”
Keystone XL will create thousands of jobs and is critical for the competitiveness of companies like Ellicott Dredges. Keystone XL has been pending for more than 5 years, the time has come to approve this important energy and infrastructure project.
Chip Yost is assistant vice president of energy and resources policy, National Association of Manufacturers.