The Anchorage-based Resource Development Council has weighed in with its members in favour of the Keystone XL pipeline which will bring Alberta bitumen from the oil sands to Texas.
RDC is an Alaskan organization comprised of individuals and companies from Alaska’s oil and gas, mining, timber, tourism, and fisheries industries, as well as Alaska Native corporations, local communities, organized labor, and industry support firms. RDC’s purpose is to link these diverse interests together to encourage a strong, diversified private sector in Alaska and expand the state’s economic base through the responsible development of our natural resources. RDC holds informative monthly and annual meetings on resource development topics.
Keystone XL has undergone the most thorough and exhaustive environmental assessment ever conducted for a cross-border pipeline, including five environmental reviews. The State Department affirmed in its Final Environmental Impact Statement that the project would not pose significant impact to the environment nor exacerbate carbon emissions. Included in its study, the agency noted that TransCanada agreed to an additional 57 safety requirements, which will make this pipeline the safest ever constructed and operated in the United States. Those requirements include: a higher number of remotely controlled shut-off valves, increased pipeline inspections, and burying the pipe deeper in the ground.
The full range of environmental impacts of the pipeline has been thoroughly evaluated and multiple opportunities for public comment on the project has occurred. The project will drive significant economic growth in the United States. The pipeline is expected to create nearly 42,000 manufacturing and construction jobs in the United States, as well as provide billions of dollars in property tax revenue to Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. The project will add $3.4 billion to the U.S. economy, including over $2 billion in salaries.
RDC states that “By supporting domestic production and oil imports from our close ally Canada instead of politically unstable countries, we will strengthen both our national and energy security. Access to affordable, stable supplies of petroleum remains one of the most vital components for a growing economy.”
Keystone will transport more than 830,000 barrels of oil per day from domestic and Canadian resources, resolving infrastructure constraints that have forced increasing volumes of oil to be transported via rail. Pipelines have an excellent safety record and are most efficient in transporting the resource over long distances.
The 800-mile Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) has a strong safety record and has transported more than 16 billion barrels of oil to American markets since throughput began in 1977. In the late 1980s, TAPS transported more than two million barrels of oil daily, which accounted for 20 percent of American domestic production. TAPS is positive proof that a project the size of Keystone XL can be built and operated safely, putting thousands of Americans to work, and strengthening the economy.
Pundits expect a decision one way or another from the Obama administration before the summer on Keystone XL. No doubt that the three congressional reps from Alaska of both parties support the Keystone pipeline.