As prepared for delivery
Press briefing teleconference on Keystone XL environment review
Cindy Schild, API senior downstream manager
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Good morning everyone. Thanks for calling in.
On Monday, API and other Keystone XL supporters will submit joint comments to the State Department on its draft supplemental environmental impact statement of the project.
The purpose of today’s call is to brief you on our comments and to once again call on the president to approve this critical project as soon as possible.
No pipeline project has been analyzed as long and as thoroughly as the Keystone XL pipeline – it’s been under review for more than twice as long as it will take to build the entire project. While the delays have been frustrating, the State Department should be commended for the comprehensive nature of its analysis, and it should come as no surprise that they have reached the same conclusion in this review that they did in their previous three reviews: the Keystone XL pipeline is safe and will create tens of thousands of well-paying jobs.
The State Department again found the pipeline will not pose a significant risk to the environment. It found the construction and design methods minimize threats to air quality, aquifers, surface water, topsoil, wildlife and fisheries. Dozens of state and local agencies and Native American tribes were consulted throughout the process. Further, the department concluded Keystone XL will have no impact on climate change because Canada’s oil sands will be developed whether or not the pipeline is constructed, and that, despite the growth of U.S. production, oil sands will continue to play a critical role in supplying the U.S. market.
The department also acknowledged the fact that careful attention has been paid to the routing of the pipeline – the route has been moved twice to satisfy concerns of Nebraskans – and has now received the support of the Nebraska governor. In addition, TransCanada has agreed to 57 special permit conditions that exceed regulatory standards. The State Department concluded that the project [quote] “would have a degree of safety over any other typically constructed domestic oil pipeline system.”
The project’s economic contributions are also acknowledged, finding the pipeline would support over 42,000 jobs and that it would [quote] “make a significant contribution to the U.S.’ continuing economic recovery.” These are jobs that will be available for the safest, most highly trained workers in the building trades, a segment of our economy suffering through unemployment rates far higher than the national average.
The science supports it. The people support it. A bi-partisan Congressional majority supports it. Organized labor is anxiously awaiting its approval. The environmental assessment is complete. Its contribution to our economy, to our long-term energy security and to our national security is clear. There is no question it is in our national interest, and it is time to approve this project.
Today, our Central Region Director, along with many labor union leaders, is speaking at the State Department hearing being held in Nebraska. We are honored to be working cooperatively with our allies in the building trades unions and in the veterans’ community as they participate in today’s hearing to show their support for this vital project.
Having hosted five rallies already, the next two are today. One in Beaumont, TX, and a second in St. Louis, where API president Jack Gerard is speaking along with Attorney General Chris Koster.
We remain hopeful that the Obama administration understands the broad support both among the public and with lawmakers.
Based on the facts, the Keystone XL pipeline is clearly a tremendous opportunity for America. We hope the administration is guided by the facts, including its own analysis, and will finally approve the Keystone XL pipeline.