Senate Bill to Revive Keystone XL Pipeline Introduced
Barely three weeks after the Administration decided to seek additional study on the Keystone XL oil pipeline, rather than approve the project, Senate Republicans introduced a bill to try to force the President’s hand. On November 30, 2011, Richard Lugar (R-IN) led an effort with 37 other Senators to require the Administration to either approve the pipeline within 60 days or determine that it is not in the national interest.
If constructed, the pipeline would transport crude oil fromAlberta,Canadato theTexasGulfCoast. Extracting and refining oil from the Canadian tar sands is considered the most polluting and carbon intensive oil process on the planet.
The President and the State Department concluded on November 10 that the environmental consequences of the pipeline’s route warrant greater study. The State Department also noted that in addition to concerns about specific routes for the pipeline, attention should be paid to the project’s implications for climate change. Green America welcomed the decision to postpone action on the pipeline and continues to press for the cancellation of this massive fossil fuel project. Any environmental report, conducted with integrity, will identify major reasons to abandon the project.
Supporters of the new bill are trying to extract a political cost from the Administration for not moving ahead with the pipeline immediately. In particular, they emphasize the need for job creation. Green America urges everyone concerned about the relationship between this pipeline and US job creation and retention to read the latest report on the issue from CornellUniversity’s Global Labor Institute. The report, Pipe Dreams? Jobs gained, Jobs Lost By the Construction of the Keystone XL shows how industry data on job creation has been wildly exaggerated – and how the pipeline could actually cost US jobs.
Fortunately, this bill isn’t likely to go far in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Yet we’ll need ongoing, informed pressure from Green Americans to ensure that the current delay in constructing the pipeline turns into its cancellation. Now is the time for investment in US renewable energy programs that can create enduring jobs while creating the clean energy future we desperately need.