Pipelines, Pressures and Politics

OTTAWA, Nov. 10, 2011 /CNW/ - It's deeply disappointing that the U.S State Department decided today to stall a decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline, supposedly because new route options, particularly in Nebraska, need to be investigated. There are currently almost 21,000 miles of pipelines crossing Nebraska already - 3,000 miles of which carry crude oil. Many of these pipelines are within areas overlying the Ogallala Aquifer.

TransCanada has worked with the State Department for the past three years to ensure Keystone XL would be the safest oil pipeline ever built, and the State Department's own study, released just three months ago, showed that the environmental impacts would be manageable, with alternative routes having stronger environmental consequences for the environment. What else needs to be studied?

The New York Times was blunt in describing what drove the administration's decision: "The proposed project ... had put President Obama in a political vise, squeezed between demands for secure energy sources and the jobs the project will bring, and the loud opposition of environmental advocates who have threatened to withhold electoral support next year if he approves it."

Hence the decision to make no decision until after next year's elections.

Keystone XL is shovel-ready.  TransCanada is poised to put 20,000 Americans to work to construct the pipeline - pipe fitters, welders, mechanics, electricians, heavy equipment operators, then list goes on.  Local businesses along the pipeline route will benefit from the 118,000 spin-off jobs Keystone XL will create through increased business for local restaurants, hotels and suppliers. You'd think that a project that would use private money create this many jobs and make the U.S. less dependent on unstable middle-eastern or Venezuelan supplies would make a good deal of sense, particularly at a time when the U.S. desperately needs to get people back to work.

However, when good policy collides with politics, good policy too often loses.

There is no doubt that the rich energy supplies from Canada's oil sands will be brought to market. The only question now is whether the U.S. will be among the beneficiaries.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the vital connection between business and the federal government. It helps shape public policy and decision-making to the benefit of businesses, communities and families across Canada with a network of over 420 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 192,000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy and in all regions. News and information are available at www.chamber.ca or follow us on Twitter @CdnChamberofCom.

SOURCE Canadian Chamber of Commerce, The

For further information:

Émilie S. Potvin
Director, Public Affairs & Media Relations
Office: 613.238.4000 (231)
Cell.: 613.797.1860
epotvin@chamber.ca

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Canadian Chamber of Commerce, The

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