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WASHINGTON – Looking to circumvent Obama Administration attempts to delay and possibly scuttle the construction of a pipeline to bring Canadian oil to U.S. Gulf state refineries and create thousands of jobs, the House Energy and Commerce committee on Tuesday approved a bill to expedite the Keystone Pipeline project.
The committee voted 33 to 22 in favor of H.R. 3548, the North American Energy Access Act, sponsored by Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE). Republican members of the committee touted the pipeline's economic and energy security benefits against attempts by some Democrats to suggest that the pipelines would actually facilitate oil exports.
NACS has come out in support of construction of the pipeline, which is estimated to create 10,000-plus jobs, enhance U.S. energy security and expand crude oil supplies in the market.
To suggest the Keystone XL pipeline would be built to ship oil to China defies both common sense and economic sense, according to NACS and the bill's supporters. If the goal were to get Canadian oil to Asian markets, it would be far easier to build a much shorter pipeline to the west and ship the oil to China -- a project Canada is considering now that President Obama has further delayed the pipeline's construction.
"The Keystone XL pipeline will greatly enhance America's energy security. With this proposed pipeline our crude imports from Canada could reach 4 million barrels a day by 2020, twice what we currently import from the Persian Gulf. Enhancing our energy partnership from Canada will strengthen America's energy future. Each additional drop of oil from Canada offsets a drop of OPEC oil," said Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE), author of H.R. 3548.
The United States is both the largest importer of oil and the world's largest consumer of petroleum products. Common sense dictates that the goods from Keystone XL will get consumed here in this country, but flexibility is essential to a functional market. Factors such as economic ups and downs and energy efficiency gains have a major impact on our energy needs at any given time. But one thing that won't fluctuate is our need for jobs -- including those that will be created to build this pipeline. To punish refiners and manufacturers with unnecessary restrictions would be counterproductive.