I have heard from many of you who are concerned with the price of gas, unemployment, and our ongoing failure to tap into our own domestic energy sources. This week the U.S. Department of State released a final environmental impact statement on the Keystone XL pipeline. This 1,700-mile pipeline would extend from Alberta, Canada to Texas, carrying as much as 900,000 barrels of oil per day. This pipeline would have enormous benefits for Texas. Construction of the pipeline will create an estimated 50,000 construction jobs and thousands of permanent jobs when it becomes fully operational.
Applying for a permit to build a pipeline that crosses our border with Canada should be straightforward. Unfortunately, it has not been an easy process. The Obama Administration has been throwing up roadblocks at every step. One of the Administration’s recent arguments is that the pipeline runs along the migratory route of the endangered whooping crane. How a pipeline stretching through the central plains of the United States would affect a bird’s migration through the skies is a mystery to even the State Department. After years of delays, the State Department has finally acknowledged that the pipeline would have limited adverse impact on the environment.
This, unfortunately, is not the end of the approval process. The environmental impact statement was only one hurdle. The State Department must now consult with the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Transportation, the Secretary of Energy, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the EPA Administrator, and the Attorney General before it can finally make a determination whether the pipeline is in the national interest of the United States.
Earlier this year I wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, urging her to advance the permit process as quickly as possible. The State Department must conclude the review process and approve the Presidential Permit without any more delay. I will continue to do everything I can to push this process along and to keep you informed as it proceeds.