Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted December 5, 2014
Speaking to business executives earlier this week, President Obama lamented how long it takes to make infrastructure improvements in the U.S.:
“The challenge for infrastructure has been that … it’s hard to pay for things if you don’t have some sort of revenue stream. And I’ve been exploring … to see how we can do more in attracting private investment into infrastructure construction – which is done fairly effectively in a lot of other countries …”
Later, he praised the Chinese for how quickly they tackle infrastructure needs:
“… the one thing I will say is that if they need to build some stuff, they can build it. And over time, that wears away our advantage competitively. It’s embarrassing – you drive down the roads, and you look at what they’re able to do.”
For more than six years one of the largest infrastructure projects to come along in some time has been staring back at President Obama, waiting for him to say “go”: the Keystone XL pipeline.
By now many Americans – who favor Keystone XL’s construction by more than a 3-to-1 margin – probably can tick off the points arguing for the project’s approval.
Posted November 18, 2014
While the U.S. Senate fell just short of the votes needed to pass legislation advancing the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline, the issue likely will reach President Obama’s desk when the new Congress is seated in January. API President and CEO Jack Gerard:
“Keystone XL is not going away. The president will have to deal with it, if not now then next year – when existing bipartisan majority support for Keystone XL in both the House and Senate will only be stronger. We will work with the new Congress to focus on getting this important jobs project approved. We will not give up until the pipeline is built. The significant gains in jobs, economic growth, energy security and national security – which have been firmly established during six years of study – prove beyond any reasonable doubt that Keystone XL is in our national interest. The national interest question is the sole consideration before President Obama, and his failure to answer it is the sole factor standing between Americans and this shovel-ready infrastructure project.”
As the Keystone XL saga continues, opponents continue to offer up a familiar grab bag of myths, half-baked goods and distortions – all designed to keep the pipeline obstructed.
Nothing new, of course. Keystone XL’s merits have been established over more than six years of close public scrutiny, including five thorough environmental reviews by the U.S. State Department – all of which have similarly concluded that the pipeline would have minimal effect on the environment and that the crude oil it will deliver to the Gulf Coast would have no material impact on U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
The fact is Keystone XL has been studied, probed, examined, researched and analyzed like no other energy infrastructure project before it. There have been public hearings and hours of congressional debate. Through it all, Keystone XL has maintained strong support from the American people – 60 percent in a new USA Today poll.
Posted November 14, 2014
Friday’s bipartisan U.S. House vote to advance the Keystone XL pipeline, the ninth time the House has voted to support the project, sets up next week’s expected vote in the Senate – and most likely a big decision point for President Obama. API President and CEO Jack Gerard:
“The strong, bipartisan support for the Keystone XL pipeline demonstrates lawmakers from both parties in the House, as well as the Senate, are listening to the American people. A vote for KXL tells Americans their jobs matter, their futures matter and that our nation’s energy and national security are a clear priority.”
Now the question: Is President Obama listening?
Posted November 14, 2014
The Fix (Washington Post): President Obama is fond of telling Congress that it should pass things with the overwhelming support of the American people, including (among other things) comprehensive immigration reform, increasing the minimum wage, and increasing gun background checks.
And yet, Obama could soon be in a position of vetoing something with a similar amount of support: the Keystone XL pipeline.
Poll after poll has shown support for Keystone is somewhere between very strong and overwhelming. A Pew Research Center survey this month showed support for the project at nearly two-to-one, 59 percent to 31 percent. And that was about the lowest level of support we've seen to date. Support has registered as high as two-thirds of Americans.
Posted November 6, 2014
Over the past few years it has been difficult to know President Obama’s true position on the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline, now under federal review more than six years. That’s likely to change in the new Congress, with Republicans saying Keystone XL legislation will be a top priority soon after the first of the year. North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven talked to Fuel Fix.com:
“The president opposes the project and has tried to defeat it with delay,” Hoeven said, but “given the clear vote from the American public and strong bipartisan support, he may decide it’s time to start working with Congress, and this is a good example of a place to start and why you’ll see us advance the measure early on.”
Given the mid-term election results, President Obama soon will be called to make a decision on Keystone XL – one that will indicate his willingness to work with the new Congress on an issue that has strong public support and one that also will show whether he’s serious about an all-of-the-above approach to energy and American energy security.
Posted October 31, 2014
Here’s what we know about U.S. energy security, with much credit due to our partnership with Canada, America’s No. 1 source of imported oil:
In 2013, U.S. crude oil imports were 541 million barrels lower than in 2010, a 16 percent decrease, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).Also in 2013, U.S. imports of crude oil from Canada were 222 million barrels higher than in 2010, an increase of nearly 31 percent.
Put the two together and what you see is a more energy-secure America: increased domestic energy – largely from shale development – more oil from our neighbor and ally and reduced imports overall.
Posted August 13, 2014
Ever since the Keystone XL pipeline first started clearing environmental reviews by the U.S. State Department, opponents basically have been left with arguing that State missed one thing or another in an effort to drag out the federal review. Of course, the credibility of the tactic has suffered evaporation with each successful State review, now five in all.
That’s the context for the latest bid to undercut State’s thorough analysis – an analysis that claims that State underestimated Keystone XL’s emissions impact by failing to consider that the pipeline would increase supply and drive down global prices leading to increased demand (and emissions).
The economic foundation is suspect, as Alberta University Professor Andrew Leach writes in an article for MacLean’s, here.
Posted March 28, 2014
The Keystone XL pipeline has been delayed by Washington way too long – more than five years and counting – but we haven’t lost our sense of humor.
At a Vets4Energy event supporting the Keystone XL, Gary Doer, Canada’s ambassador to the United States, recognizing the U.S. military veterans in the audience, remarked that the two countries are old friends. “Ever since the War of 1812 we’ve been allies together,” said Doer, noting the little war during which Canada helped the British. “I won’t get into that war, but …”
U.S. Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota good-naturedly cut him off: “We won that war!”
Posted February 21, 2014
It’s hard to look at the delays that have kept the Keystone XL pipeline on the drawing board for more than five years and not think about the countless American workers – in construction, fabrication, supply, transport and other sectors – who would be helped by the project finally getting under way. People like Billy Rogers.
We met Rogers last year and he spoke about how a large, shovel-ready infrastructure project like the Keystone XL benefits working men and women. He knew this full well, being among 5,000 U.S. workers building Keystone XL’s southern leg, Gulf Coast Pipeline in Texas and Oklahoma:
“Working on the Gulf Coast Project has afforded me a good income that allows me to support my family. In addition, the construction of this project has had a significant impact in the local communities in which we work as the hundreds of crew members spend their money locally in restaurants, grocery stores, shops – everyone is benefiting.”
Our economy needs more good-news stories like Rogers’ – as many as possible.
Posted December 27, 2013
The long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline and whether President Obama will agree with a strong majority of Americans who believe that the full project is in the U.S. national interest landed on a couple of year-ending lists of top energy issues, here andhere, no doubt reflecting the politics surrounding the pipeline’s five-year federal review.
Much of politicizing has been fueled by opponents who say stopping Keystone XL will stop oil sands development. The U.S. State Department disagreed in its most recent review, citing key economic factors that argue oil sands will get to market with or without the Keystone XL. The dynamic already is at work.
Last week, Canada’s National Energy Board recommended approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline to bring as much as 525,000 barrels a day of oil sands from Alberta to British Columbia. At the same time others are making plans to build loading terminals to service oil sands-bearing railroad cars. Demand for supply is driving the infrastructure needed to deliver that supply.
The question for the U.S. concerns the impact of Washington’s never-ending deliberation over the Keystone XL, even as other infrastructure for delivering oil sands moves toward reality.