Michigan still waiting for Keystone
A lot can happen in six years — unless Washington gets involved.
Sept. 19 marked the six-year anniversary of the Keystone Pipeline’s first permit application with the federal government. Since that day, the pipeline — which would transport oil from Canada to the U.S., directly benefiting Michigan’s economy along the way — has been stuck in bureaucratic limbo. It took the Allied Powers less time to win World War II.
This anniversary affords us a chance to analyze what’s blocking the pipeline. It can’t be concerns about what Keystone will do — government and private sector sources both confirm that Keystone is economically and environmentally sound.
The hold-up comes straight from President Obama and his allies in Congress. They would rather play politics with the pipeline than approve this straightforward and sensible infrastructure project. No wonder: They don’t want to anger those who have pledged hundreds of millions dollars to help keep Harry Reid in charge of the Senate.
That money is even helping to elect Congressman Gary Peters, who’s now running for Michigan’s open United States Senate seat. It should come as no surprise, then, that he has enabled the president’s political gamesmanship with the Keystone Pipeline over the past six years.
Simply look at the evidence to see how politics have trumped common sense. Consider first the ostensible reason that Washington has delayed Keystone’s approval: It might harm the environment.
But there’s no evidence to support this claim. The federal government released a report earlier this year demonstrating that the pipeline will not adversely harm the environment. The report found that the oil will be transported and utilized regardless of whether Keystone is built. It will not increase the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
It thus makes sense to transport it through the U.S. If we don’t, Canada will export the oil elsewhere, and other countries, with far worse environmental track records, will reap the benefits.
And the benefits are many. From a safety perspective, Keystone is a better option than the rail transport currently used in the American market. A recent study by the Manhattan Institute reaffirmed the longstanding fact that pipelines are a much safer way to transport oil.
Michiganians may also be very familiar with Keystone’s economic upsides. Since its unveiling six years ago, commentators have spilled much ink on this subject—thousands of jobs, billions of dollars in economic growth, and hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue for state and local government. These facts have not changed in the past six years.
Thomas Pyle is the president of the American Energy Alliance.