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Jack Gerard's remarks at press briefing teleconference on Keystone XL

As prepared for delivery

Press briefing teleconference on Keystone XL 
Jack Gerard, API President and CEO
December 5, 2014

Opening statement:

Good morning, everyone. Thanks for calling in to discuss the next phase of the Keystone XL pipeline campaign.

Earlier this week in remarks to business executives, President Obama stated that America’s inability to make infrastructure improvements is “embarrassing,” and he spoke with envy of the “rapidity” with which China builds infrastructure projects. Those are interesting words from a president who has delayed a major infrastructure improvement for six years. The real embarrassment is that the Keystone XL pipeline has been under review longer than previous generations of Americans took to build infrastructure like the Hoover Dam, Golden Gate Bridge and the Transcontinental Railroad.

The president blamed lack of revenue for our infrastructure shortcomings, but that argument doesn’t apply to Keystone XL. The pipeline won’t cost a dime of taxpayer money. An API study from two years ago showed building the energy infrastructure we need to keep pace with the American energy revolution could generate up to $1.14 trillion in capital investments and add $120 billion to the economy – plus generate more than $27 billion in revenue for the government. If the government will just get out of the way, energy infrastructure projects can support 1.1 million jobs paying workers $75 billion.

Six years of review and five positive environmental assessments from the State Department are enough. We are calling on President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. There is more than enough evidence to move forward immediately – without waiting for Congress to vote again in the new year when congressional support for Keystone XL will be even stronger. President Obama can end the delay today and give America’s construction workers a Christmas gift they’ve been waiting six years for.

The American people have made it clear they want the 42,000 jobs and energy security the pipeline will provide. With leadership from policymakers like Senator Landrieu and Senator Hoeven, Congress has made it clear that there is strong bipartisan support in the House and Senate for moving forward. And the labor community has made it very clear that construction jobs are vital and valued – rightly calling the Senate’s failure to approve Keystone XL an “assault on the working class” and a “vote against all construction workers.”

When America’s construction sector goes to work building Keystone XL, they’ll be building not just a pipeline, but energy security. We’re within 10 years of the ability to supply 100 percent of our liquid fuel needs from right here in North America, but we won’t get there through presidential dithering on infrastructure projects that are obviously in our national interest.

In his post-election press conference, President Obama characterized Keystone XL as “one small aspect of a broader trend that’s really positive for the American people.” That positive trend is the American energy renaissance, and it didn’t materialize by accident. America’s resourcefulness and ingenuity created the surging oil and natural gas production that has played a large role in cutting gas prices to four-year lows. Production increases set in motion years ago by breakthroughs in hydraulic fracturing technology are paying off in astounding economic growth, energy security gains and a manufacturing renaissance.

Now is not the time to sit back and assume our energy resurgence will coast along on auto pilot. This is the time to invest in the infrastructure and policies we need to achieve the full benefits of energy advances and secure a stable supply of energy for decades to come. The rest of the world is certainly not sitting on their hands in the face of America’s emerging energy dominance. OPEC is holding production steady to protect market share, Australia is in the midst of a major LNG export build-out to capture Asian markets before we do, and more than 60 LNG projects around the world are under development with the same goal. Our global competitors are surely happy that we’ve spent six years forfeiting an increase of 830,000 barrels per day in stable oil supply.

As we told President Obama in November, Keystone XL is not going away. And we are resolved to continue the fight. We have an ad campaign ready to launch, and we look forward to continuing to work with our labor allies on behalf of American families and workers who want this pipeline built.

President Obama’s approach to Keystone XL has been to delay a decision until after the next election, then the next. With no more elections left, it’s time for the president to look beyond the next election cycle to the next generation and do what’s right for America’s future.