Today, the Senate voted to override President Obama’s veto of a bill to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and even though this vote did not receive the 2/3rds approval needed to pass (failed by a vote of 62-37), it shows a dedication from Senate leadership to this important infrastructure project. This project would create tens of thousands of new jobs, opportunities for working men and women and energy abundance here in the United States. (continue reading…)
Tag: Keystone XL
Yesterday, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) President and CEO Jay Myers visited the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) headquarters in Washington, DC. CME is NAM’s Canadian sister organization and close partner in promoting the manufacturing agenda across both borders. The NAM Communications office sat down for a brief Q&A with Mr. Myers. Here are a few excerpts from the discussion.
NAM Communications: Can you tell us about the CME and its membership?
Mr. Myers: We are Canada’s largest industry trade association, representing over 10,000 members across Canada. We are Canada’s counterpart to the NAM and our job is to represent the interests of manufacturers operating in Canada, of course many of the companies are headquartered in the United States, which is one reason why we work so close with the NAM.
NAM Communications: Can you tell us about how the CME and the NAM work together in both countries?
Mr. Myers: We’ve had a long-standing relationship with the NAM that continues to grow closer and closer as we deal with energy issues, cross border issues, regulatory cooperation issues, and trade policy. It used to be that the NAM and CME were talking about how to build a free trade environment between the United States and Canada, and now it’s about how we take that great model that we developed here with NAFTA and apply to it grow business around the world, get access to new markets, and make sure we’ve got a competitive energy infrastructure base here in North America.
NAM Communications: What does the Keystone project mean to Canadian manufacturers and to the Canadian economy in General?
Mr. Myers: Keystone is a very strategic issue for the Canadian economy. It’s about the ability to supply oil from Western Canada to not only one of the world’s largest markets, but also to the refineries that have been set up to handle that market on the Gulf Coast. Without Keystone, the oil coming out of Western Canada is kept from entering this major market, and there are really only two other alternatives. In Canada, because we need access to international markets, pipelines will be built east and west. If pipelines are going to the Pacific, the oil may possibly go the West Coast of the United States, but more likely to China. Likewise, pipelines are being built to Eastern Canada, and that oil is going to Europe. Unfortunately, this issue has become politicized. Clearly, if Keystone is turned down, it’s going to be very difficult to go ahead with any major north-south pipeline. Again, it’s a very important strategic issue for the Canadian economy. I don’t think people truly appreciate the chill that turning down Keystone will put on the Canadian’s economic relationship with the United States. For investment generally, it’s going to be very important that we see that pipeline succeed.
Approval and construction of the Keystone pipeline is a priority for manufacturers, and Mr. Myer’s comments illustrate exactly why this project goes beyond energy security and new jobs. It’s about fostering an environment in which economic growth and continued global competition can take place. As noted by Mr. Myers, denial of the Keystone pipeline would do just the opposite by chilling Canadian and U.S. economic relations.
Last week, more than 165 business executives signed a letter to President Obama urging him to approve the Keystone XL pipeline project. The letter was a joint effort of the NAM, Business Roundtable and U.S. Chamber of Commerce and garnered media coverage from numerous outlets including National Journal, The Hill, Politico and Houston Chronicle.
“We are at an inflection point in our economic recovery,” the letter stated. “Whether economic growth will remain modest or pick up speed will depend on maintaining investor confidence and strengthening America’s competitiveness. The decision on Keystone XL will affect both.”
With September 19 of this year marking the five-year anniversary of the original Keystone XL project’s application for a permit, Manufacturers continue to be at the forefront of efforts to encourage the President to approve this project.
The NAM will continue to work with business and labor leaders as well as Congress and the Administration to get final approval for the pipeline. Approval of this job-creating project will send a clear signal that we are serious about getting America back to work.
It is hard to believe that today marks the 5 year anniversary of the Keystone XL pipeline permit application. Keystone XL pipeline has been waiting for Presidential approval longer than any other cross-border pipeline project.
This project represents a high opportunity cost, and unfortunately we have paid a high price in the form of delayed economic growth and job-creation that would stem from the project. In a statement yesterday, The North American Building Trades Unions lamented the loss of building trade jobs during a time period where the construction industry hovers around 9 per cent, and our nation’s unemployment lingers at 7-8 percent.
In Gascoyne, ND there is a virtual grave yard of hundreds of miles of steel pipe waiting to be put to use building the Keystone XL. TransCanada purchased these pipes several years ago at a cost of over $200 million, and once approved the town of Gascoyne will experience all the benefits of increased economic activity. Until then it will continue to be a symbol of indecision and missed opportunities.
Make no mistake, if this were really only about a pipeline this project would have not only been approved but finished. Keystone XL has become the rallying cry for those that believe the project is the tipping point on climate change, regardless of experts confirming that the project would have no material impact on greenhouse gas emissions.
This is not a happy anniversary for this country, our economy or our energy security. This anniversary reminds us only that our government can’t get out of its own way and that thousands of workers have been denied the opportunity to make a good wage, contribute to our economy and provide for their families. Manufacturers continue to urge the President to approve this important project.
Approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline’s Presidential Permit Application
- It’s been nearly five years since the Presidential Permit application was filed to construct the Keystone XL Pipeline. In addition to the 20,000 construction jobs that the pipeline would create, 118,000 jobs would be created in the supply chain of the pipeline. These are manufacturing jobs to make the steel, valves, compressor stations and heavy equipment necessary to make the pipeline become a reality. Keystone XL needs to be approved for the good of our country’s competitiveness, our nation’s energy consumers, our national interests and especially the 138,000 Americans who desperately need the jobs that this project would create.
Continued Focus on Immigration Reform
- Immigration reform will lift America up – it is intrinsic to who we are as a nation. It’s far too important to allow demagoguery to derail comprehensive reform, and all parties involved should avoid the traditional politicking that often accompanies this issue. The NAM is committed to seeing it through, and we will, because it is the right thing to do.
Re-examination of EPA Regulations that Hurt Manufacturers and Job Creation
- Over the past several years, the EPA has proposed and implemented an array of regulations that are hurtful to the economy, including the Boiler MACT, Utility MACT and PM 2.5 NAAQS. Now, the EPA is considering another proposal that would further limit the construction of new fossil-fuel power plants, potentially taking stable and affordable sources of energy off the table and putting the power grid at further risk. The cumulative impact of these regulations is bad news for the manufacturing economy and will result in less reliable electricity at a higher price. Manufacturers and the 12 million people making things in America want a strategy that includes all available domestic sources of energy. Piling on with more costly regulations is not the answer.
Stronger Push for Trade Promotion Authority (TPA)
- The NAM commends President Obama for advocating for TPA in a recent Presidential address, and supports all efforts to ensure he receives this crucial authority. A robust international trade and investment negotiating agenda is vital to the success of manufacturing in the United States. To create jobs and drive growth, manufacturers must be able to reach the 95 percent of consumers who live outside our borders. When overseas markets are open, businesses and workers win. Durable negotiating authority that includes strong provisions on consultation and review by Congress is a fundamental requirement of an effective U.S. negotiating structure to open foreign markets.
New Approach To Comprehensive Tax Reform
- NAM would like to see the Administration offer support to Congress’ efforts to pass revenue neutral tax reform for corporations and individuals that leaves no one behind. Tax reform is essential to long term economic growth in this nation – and the White House should offer strong support to reform that refuses to pick winners and losers but instead reduces the tax burden on all Americans.
Earlier this week, respected global engineering and research firm IHS CERA published a paper that concluded what the NAM and other supporters of the Keystone XL pipeline have been saying throughout this debate, which is “that the incremental GHG emissions from the [Keystone] pipeline would not be substantial.” The study, entitled “Keystone XL Pipeline: No Material Impact on U.S. GHG Emissions,” also reaffirms what others, State Department included, have been saying all along: heavy crude oils, including those from the Canadian oil sands, will continue to be refined whether or not the Keystone XL Pipeline is built.
On June 25 President Obama pledged in a climate speech that he would not approve the project if it would “significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.” The President made these comments despite his State Department’s conclusion that the pipeline would have a minimum impact on GHG emissions. The President appears to be looking for a reason to say no, while the majority of Americans desperately want him to say yes!
The NAM continues to be a strong supporter of the Keystone XL project. We encourage the President to look at the facts and to make his decision based on what is in the best interest of the country knowing that this project will not substantially increase GHG emissions.
President Obama made waves this week as he defied his own State Department by claiming the Keystone Pipeline would only create 2,000 jobs, while chuckling at the thought of such a low number.
Manufacturers and millions of unemployed Americans aren’t amused by his dismissal of the jobs-creating potential of this project. In addition to the 20,000 construction jobs that the pipeline would create, tens of thousands of jobs would be created in the supply chain.
These are the manufacturers that make the steel, valves, compressor stations and heavy equipment necessary to make the pipeline become a reality. Numerous economic opportunities associated with the pipeline would benefit other manufacturers, laborers, small businesses and communities throughout and around Keystone’s supply chain. The President’s comments conveniently ignore these facts.
Now, two national fact-checking organizations have rated the President’s claims as false.
According to the Washington Post Fact-Checker, by ignoring State Department Estimates that the Keystone Pipeline could support over 42,000 jobs a year the President “seems to be signaling that even his own government does not produce the most realistic estimate that should be used by reporters.”
The Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-check site PolitiFact notes that the President “went out of his way to downplay” the jobs impact of this project, and when asked provided “no supporting evidence.” PolitiFact also points out that the “the construction process itself would create nearly twice as many jobs as the President said.”
Americans are frustrated with Washington’s inaction, and the debate surrounding the Keystone XL is a prime example of inexcusable bureaucracy and Washington misdirection. It’s time for the Administration to complete its review and approve the pipeline to put Americans back to work.
We strongly disagree with the President’s comments that only 2,000 jobs would be created with the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Manufacturers are extremely disappointed by the President’s dismissal of the jobs-creating potential of the construction of this important project. In addition to the 20,000 construction jobs that the pipeline would create, 118,000 jobs would be created in the supply chain of the pipeline. These are manufacturing jobs to make the steel, valves, compressor stations and heavy equipment necessary to make the pipeline become a reality. The President’s comments ignore this important fact.
From a manufacturing perspective, the pipeline would provide a reliable and affordable supply, which would in return reduce energy costs for consumers. Manufacturers use one-third of this nation’s energy supply, so every dollar not spent on energy costs is a dollar that can be spent on expansion and additional jobs in our sector.
From a national security perspective, most Americans see the value in securing energy supplies from a friendly ally and neighbor so we can reduce our dependency on regimes that are hostile to our interests and our people.
Keystone XL needs to be approved for the good of our country’s competitiveness, our nation’s energy consumers, our national interests and especially the 138,000 Americans who desperately need the jobs that this project would create.
Manufacturers urge the President to put American jobs and U.S. competitiveness above politics and the unreasonable demands of special interests by expeditiously approving the international connection for Keystone XL.
While the Administration continues to stall on approval of the Keystone pipeline, a new poll released this week shows that more than two-thirds of Americans support building the project. The poll, published by United Technologies and National Journal, found that 67 percent of Americans support construction of the pipeline while only 24 percent oppose the project.
The Keystone XL pipeline is an essential part of an all-of-the-above energy strategy and will create thousands of jobs and enhance America’s energy security. That’s why the National Association of Manufacturers recently issued a NAM Key Vote Letter in support of H.R. 3, House legislation that would expedite approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.
It’s past time that the administration ends the delays and stall-tactics and approves this job-creating project. The longer we wait for approval, the longer it delays the creation of thousands of high-paying manufacturing jobs for American workers.
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.