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As Obama Delays on Keystone XL Pipeline; Canadians Studying Options To Ship To China Instead

January 12th, 2012 by mopns · No Comments

Job creators continue this week to urge President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. The Hill reports, “President Obama should green-light the Keystone pipeline from Alberta to the Gulf Coast without delay, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said Thursday. ‘There is no legitimate reason, none at all, to subject it to further delay,’ [Tom] Donohue said in his annual address on the state of business and the economy. . . . Donohue said action is needed this year and cannot be stalled by politics.  ‘Real leaders understand that Americans can have big differences in philosophy but still find common ground,’ Donohue said. ‘They wouldn’t tell us that solutions have to wait until after the election.’”

Over 100 trade groups have sent a letter to the president, saying, “[We] urge you to approve the Keystone XL pipeline as soon as possible. With your approval, this shovel-ready project will provide 20,000 jobs in construction and manufacturing in the next two years, and add tens of thousands of additional jobs throughout the economy in other sectors including service, retail and distribution. With our nation’s stubbornly high unemployment, it would be irresponsible to let such good-paying jobs slip away.”

Meanwhile, Canada’s Financial Post writes, “TransCanada Corp. has released a detailed job breakdown for the Keystone XL pipeline and said it will create 13,000 construction employment opportunities and 7,000 in manufacturing for Americans. . . . ‘These are new, real U.S. jobs. Thirteen thousand Americans would be put to work constructing our Keystone XL project,’ said Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and chief executive officer in a statement. ‘Seven thousand more jobs would be created in the U.S. manufacturing sector, making the materials needed to build Keystone XL.’”

And according to the AP, “A Canadian company attempting to build a $7 billion pipeline to carry oil from Canada to refineries along the Gulf Coast soon will have a new route that seeks to allay worries of U.S. regulators, a company executive said Wednesday. ‘In a matter of a very few weeks we will have a route that everyone agrees on,’ said Alex Pourbaix, TransCanada Corp.’s president for energy and oil pipelines. . . . Pourbaix said the Calgary-based company has been meeting with U.S. regulators and officials in Nebraska on mapping a new route that will avoid the environmentally sensitive Sandhills area of Nebraska.”

So why is President Obama still waiting to approve this pipeline, which will create jobs, strengthen ties with a valued ally, and reduce reliance on oil from the Middle East?

Continued delay from the White House could be costly. The AP notes, “Pourbaix and Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., told North Dakota officials and oil industry representatives that if the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline is not built Canada’s oil-sand developers likely would ship the crude to Asia. ‘It’s going to go to China if we don’t build it here,’ Hoven said.” And USA Today reported on Monday, “While President Obama wants to delay a decision on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline until after the 2012 election, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper is stepping up efforts to explore an alternative pipeline that would allow Canada to ship their tar sands oil to China. On Tuesday, an independent federal panel in Canada will begin its review of a proposed western pipeline that would carry the oil from Alberta to the coast of British Columbia. From British Columbia, the oil would be shipped on tankers to oil-hungry China. . .

“‘President Obama says we can’t wait for action on jobs,’ House Speaker John Boehner’s office noted in an e-mail to reporters today. ‘Well, Canada isn’t waiting. One way or another, a new energy pipeline will be built. The question the president and Democrats in Washington need to answer is: would Democrats rather American workers get these Keystone jobs? Or China?’”

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