Tomorrow is the 239th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Our friends at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for 21st Century Energy remind us of another anniversary this week worth celebrating: July 1 was the fifth anniversary of the original Keystone pipeline.
Of course, the original Keystone pipeline should not be confused with the proposed Keystone XL project – which has been waiting nearly seven years for regulatory approval from the U.S. government.
The five-year-old Keystone pipeline brings oil from Canada’s oil sands to refineries in the Midwest. It was permitted in three years and built in two.
Since then, it has been an engine of economic growth and development. More than $5 billion of private investment was spent on construction of the original Keystone – a much-needed boost to the U.S. economy in the Great Recession after the financial crisis.
More significant is the economic contribution Keystone continues to make. It moves 600,000 barrels of oil every day that go to power the lives of American customers and fuel their activities at home, work, and play.
And governments benefit too. As the Chamber points out, “Since construction, the original Keystone has paid millions in property taxes to counties, townships, and to school, fire and natural resource districts along the route.”
By every discernible measure – economic, environmental, geopolitical – the Keystone pipeline has been a roaring success.
This track record of benefits and contributions to progress should influence our public dialogue about the value of energy infrastructure – especially for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
Keystone XL would carry even more Canadian crude – along with oil from North Dakota’s Bakken Shale – to refiners and customers along the Gulf Coast. It would provide even more jobs and more government revenues, while continuing to strengthen American energy, economic security, and our relationship with our Canadian neighbor.
The U.S. government’s own analysis acknowledges the great benefits Keystone XL would offer Americans.
The baffling refusal by the Obama administration to greenlight KXL makes no sense on its own. Compared to the five-year, unqualified success of the original Keystone project, it makes even less sense.