Two years ago President Obama faced protesters when visiting the Pipe Yard in Cushing OK. There he announced he would swiftly permit the Gulf Coast Project, the bottom part of the Keystone pipe line. This week, that Keystone Gulf Coast Project will begin shipping oil through the 830,000 barrel per day capacity line, which runs 485 miles from Cushing, OK south to Nederland, TX (on the gulf coast near the Texas – Louisiana border).
The project took more than 4,000 tradesman and construction workers sixteen months to complete. Additional vendors and local businesses also benefited including Read Ice Company in Kountze, Texas, 25 miles northwest of Beaumont which contracted with TransCanada to provide ice cold water to construction workers. In short–it helped the entire economy of the region.
But, it could have been so much more. The next phase of the Keystone XL Pipeline project includes building a new pipeline from Cushing, OK to Hardisty, Alberta Canada, about 1,700 miles to the north. This final leg will require 9,000 more tradesman and construction workers. It could be a $5 billion investment boost into the U.S. economy. Millions in tax revenue for cities and towns along the route.
Cushing is a major hub in moving America’s Oil Supply, connecting the
Gulf Coast suppliers with northern consumers. It’s been called as the most significant trading hub for crude oil in North America.
The purpose of Obama’s visit in 2012 was to announce he was going to build the
rear end of the pipeline, from Cushing to the Gulf of Mexico, which starts pumping oil next week. But in typical Obama fashion he gave his support where it wasn’t needed.
Pipelines are built in the United States all of the time, local authorities need
to grant approval, but the President’s is not necessary. The only part
of the pipeline that a President has influence over is the segment that
crosses the boarder as foreign relations is the purview of federal
Building the final leg of Keystone XL will connect landlocked crude oil being produced in the Bakken formation in North Dakota to Gulf Coast refiners. These shipments will place downward pressure on prices and a place a more reliable stream of crude into America’s energy producing network. This new found reliability will make the U.S. less dependent on crude oil imports from regimes like Venezuela or Persian Gulf countries. And most importantly it will create jobs and improve the economy.
If Barack Obama truly wants to help the economy he would approve the border-crossing part of the Keystone Pipeline—yesterday!