State Department Makes Case for Oil Pipeline from Canada

Feb 8, 2013

Secretary of State John Kerry will have his first meeting with his Canadian counterpart, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. One of the topics expected to come up is the Keystone XL pipeline. The State Department continues to review the revised route that was approved by Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman.

Imagine if I worked for the State Department and explained why the permit for Keystone XL was approved. It would include something like this:

The Department found that the addition of crude oil pipeline capacity between Canada and the United States will advance a number of strategic interests of the United States. These included increasing the diversity of available supplies among the United States’ worldwide crude oil sources in a time of considerable political tension in other major oil producing countries and regions; shortening the transportation pathway for crude oil supplies; and increasing crude oil supplies from a major non-Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries producer. Canada is a stable and reliable ally and trading partner of the United States, with which we have free trade agreements which augment the security of this energy supply.

Approval of the permit sends a positive economic signal, in a difficult economic period, about the future reliability and availability of a portion of United States’ energy imports, and in the immediate term, this shovel-ready project will provide construction jobs for workers in the United States.

Here's a reasonable case to permit a pipeline that would connect Canadian oil to American refineries.

Oh wait! The State Department did state this... in 2009 when it approved a permit for the Alberta Clipper pipeline that runs from Alberta to Wisconsin.
Every point the State Department makes in favor of this pipeline can be made for Keystone XL:

  1. It would increase the “diversity of available supplies among the United States’ worldwide crude oil sources in a time of considerable political tension in other major oil producing countries and regions.” [North Africa and the Middle East haven’t become more stable.]
  2. It would shorten “the transportation pathway for crude oil supplies.” [South to oil refineries along the Gulf Coast.]
  3. It would increase oil supplies from a “major non-Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries producer.” [Our friend Canada.]
  4. It would supply oil from a “stable and reliable ally and trading partner.” [Canada again.]
  5. It would send “a positive economic signal, in a difficult economic period.” [Unemployment is at 7.9%.]
  6. And finally it would “provide construction jobs for workers in the United States.” [Look at that unemployment number again.]

The State Department made a great case for the Alberta Clipper pipeline and the exact same case can be made for Keystone XL. There is no good reason it’s been delayed this long.

Since the statement is already half-written, let’s just get some white-out, replace “Alberta Clipper” with “Keystone XL,” and get on creating jobs and helping the economy.

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