By Matt Rosendale
Montana State Senator 

Keystone XL: End The Wait


The U.S. is faced with a unique opportunity to take energy matters into our own hands with the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

With more than 60 years’ experience, TransCanada is a leader in the responsible development and reliable operation of North American energy infrastructure including natural gas and oil pipelines, power generation and gas storage facilities.

The Keystone XL pipeline was originally proposed by TransCanada in 2008, but it has faced a never-ending stream of political roadblocks preventing its passage.

An impact report released back on August 26, 2011, stated that the pipeline would pose “no significant impacts” to most resources if environmental protection measures are followed.

In December of 2011, Congress passed a bill giving the Obama Administration a 60-day deadline to make a decision on the application to build the Keystone XL Pipeline, but President Obama rejected the application in February of 2012, stating that the deadline for the decision had “prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact.”

This year, on May 22, Republicans in the House of Representatives defended the Northern Route Approval Act which would allow for congressional approval of the pipeline, on the grounds that the pipeline created jobs and energy independence. If enacted the Northern Route Approval Act would waive the requirement for permits for a foreign company and bypass the need for President Obama’s approval.

As the decision to build the Keystone XL pipeline is being tied up by one onerous review after another, accompanied by accumulating false rhetoric, the U.S. imports oil from hostile foreign countries, rather than dealing with a proven, amicable trade partner: Canada.

Last month, TransCanada welcomed the latest scientific report published by the National Academy of Science regarding pipeline safety and the characteristics of oil sands derived crudes (diluted bitumen).

The study concluded diluted bitumen (dilbit) does not have unique properties that make it more likely than other crude oils to cause internal damage to pipelines from corrosion nor is dilbit more likely to cause spills when compared to other crude oils.

“The public has been bombarded with misinformation about the oil that will go through Keystone XL, but this latest study by the highly credible National Academy of Science has confirmed that oil is oil and the pipelines we build will safely move different blends – as the industry has been doing for decades,” said Vern Meier, vice-president, pipeline safety and compliance, TransCanada.

Key findings by the National Academy of Science panel include: No evidence of causes of pipeline failure unique to the transportation of diluted bitumen; No evidence of chemical or physical properties of diluted bitumen that are outside the range of other crude oils; No evidence that any aspects of the transportation of diluted bitumen by transmission pipeline would cause releases more likely than the transportation of other crude oils; The dilution process needed to help these heavy oils flow yield a stable and fully mixed product for shipping by pipeline with density and viscosity levels in the range of other crude oils transported by pipeline in the United States; No evidence of unique or extreme properties that make diluted bitumen shipments more likely to cause internal corrosion or erosion.

What, then, is the current administration waiting on?

If the Keystone XL be approved, an onramp for Bakken crude from would be put in place to move oil out of North Dakota and Montana to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico. Transporting the oil by pipeline is not only the safest method of transportation, but it would provide relief to overtaxed roads, help to reduce truck traffic, and alleviate the bottleneck of oil stuck in the Bakken.

Keystone XL Pipeline has the potential to reduce American oil imports from Venezuela and the Middle East by up to 40%. This oil will be North American oil, produced by companies that employ thousands of U.S. workers, under strong government regulations to protect both the environment and human rights.

We’ve waited long enough. The time is now to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

Matt Rosendale, R-Glendive, represents state Senate District 19.


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