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Cindy Schild's remarks at press briefing teleconference on Keystone XL's seven year delay

As prepared for delivery

Press briefing teleconference on Keystone XL 7 year delay
Cindy Schild
Sept. 17, 2015

Opening statement:
Hello everyone. Thanks for calling in.

This week marks seven years since the initial permit application was filed for the Keystone XL pipeline. By continuing the unprecedented delay to approve the KXL, President Obama continues to put politics above the interest of job creation and smart energy policy. Five State Department reviews have determined the project to be safe and environmentally sound, yet the administration has turned its back on our closest ally and trading partner in favor of a vocal minority who are advocating a "leave it in the ground" approach to energy. It’s ironic that the U.S. would strike a deal to allow Iranian crude onto the global market while refusing to give our closest trading partner, Canada, the most efficient access to U.S. refineries. This foot dragging is an affront to American workers. It’s politics at its worst. And the American people agree.

According to a new API poll nearly 70 percent of registered voters believe the seven year delay has hurt our economy and energy security. Sixty eight percent still support building Keystone and 79 percent believe the U.S. should support Canadian oil at least as much as Iranian oil.

This ongoing delay continues to be a missed opportunity for the thousands of hard-working men and women in the labor industry. The 42,000 jobs and the $2 billion in wages that could be made building Keystone remains out of their reach because this president refuses to make the right decision.

At a time when we need to secure America’s position as a global superpower, through commitment to U.S. resources and infrastructure, the administration has chosen to delay a critical energy project that serves the interest of our nation, workers and families.

We know Canada will move forward with oil development with or without Keystone XL. Remember KXL is just one of six major pipeline proposals to bring Canada’s oil sands crude to the market. Experts agree: Oil sands are being developed. Rejecting the pipeline means blocking efficient access to an important supply source for American refineries, which are among the finest in the world. Blocking that source of stable, reliable oil could also hurt consumers.

Gas prices have been near four-year lows due in large part to surging American production. KXL could give us access to an additional 830,000 barrels per day of steady supply from Canada and the U.S. Bakken region which could further reinforce our crucial buffer against global supply disruptions and price shocks at the pump, but that opportunity has yet to be realized.

Now it’s up to the American people to decide if delays like this will be tolerated. Voters sizing up the candidates for 2016 are looking for true leadership on energy issues because of how significantly energy affects our daily lives from how much we pay at the pump to the plastics in our smart phones and the performance of our retirement accounts. In fact, our latest poll showed that 66 percent of voters are more likely to support a candidate who supports approving KXL.

It is an understatement to say that we are disappointed by the never-ending decision to delay. The bigger disappointment and loss is being felt today by our nation’s workers who have been awaiting these well-paying jobs, and American consumers who will instead continue to rely upon oil from less stable regions of the world. And what signal does this send to our Canadian ally?

The Keystone debate is far from over. We once again call on Congress to step in and approve KXL because a strong majority of Americans still want it built and 83 percent of voters we surveyed believe a president should not have the sole power to decide national energy infrastructure projects.

It doesn’t make sense the United States would strive to assist Iranian oil producers in getting their product to market, while turning its back on our next door neighbor. We are going to continue to raise our voices on this issue particularly with voters who are looking for energy leadership, so they can make their own disappointment known.

I’ll take your questions now.