By Alan Olson, MPA Executive Director

President Biden’s recent executive order to rescind the permits for TC Energy’s Keystone XL, including a section of the pipeline that has already been constructed, will cause serious economic consequences not only for Montana but also for the United States.

 While some leaders in government believe they can create jobs, it is the private sector that is the job creator. Private investment in infrastructure such as the Keystone XL pipeline puts people to work in good paying jobs, provides a much-needed service, and creates wealth domestically without increasing the national debt. Through tax revenue, it funds much needed government services such as education, health and human services, and emergency services.

Just since 2008 About 42,000 miles of pipeline have been put into service in the U.S. carrying crude oil, natural gas, and other petroleum products. In today’s global economic climate abundant energy supplies and North American energy independence will have a huge influence geopolitically and economically.

Keystone XL will enhance the existing pipeline system and provide new ways to safely transport the energy to fuel Americans’ daily lives, now and in the future. Keystone XL will provide a reliable source of fuel from a stable neighboring country that shares America’s values as well as facilitating the delivery of Montana and North Dakota crude oil supplies to southern markets. 

 Since TC Energy filed its first Keystone XL application in 2008 there has been years of rigorous review and the facts have never changed. A four-year certification process through Montana’s rigorous Major Facility Siting Act and every federal study done under both the Obama and Trump administrations has concluded Keystone XL can be built and operated safely, with NO significant impact to the environment. 

* In 2008 the permitting process for Keystone XL started.

* In 2011, the U.S. State Department (DOS) determined the project could be built with no significant impact to the environment.

* In 2014, DOS again finds Keystone XL can be built safely.

* In 2018, DOS again finds Keystone XL can be built with no significant impact.

* In 2019 the State permitting processes have been completed in all three affected states, Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska.

* In 2019 a supplemental EIS was released adding another 648 pages to the voluminous original EIS that reviews geology, soils, water resources, wetlands, wildlife, air quality and noise, terrestrial vegetation, fisheries, species at risk, cultural resources, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. 

In its 2014 environmental impact statement, the U.S. State Department determined that GHG emissions from the movement of this oil by other modes of transportation such as rail would generate 28 percent to 42 percent more GHG emissions than Keystone XL. The construction techniques identified in the permitting requirements of the affected states will ensure proper operating parameters. Environment and climate change concerns are met by adhering to regulations in the United States, not by not exporting this crude oil directly to foreign nation lacking those same restraints.

 Keystone XL is good business for the U.S. It will create thousands of high-paying construction jobs, pay millions into three rural states’ tax coffers, and inject billions into the nation’s economy. During construction, Keystone XL will create over 42,000 U.S. based jobs. Approximately 12,000 of the jobs will be created in Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska. Wages supported by Keystone XL construction will generate $2 billion in earnings for U.S. workers. Construction of Keystone XL will inject approximately $3.4 billion into U.S. GDP and over $25 million in taxes paid to Montana’s state and local coffers in just the first year of operation will pay for education and social services programs as well as infrastructure needs. 

We are deeply concerned that the Biden administration would play politics with this very important project. At a time when Americans are struggling to find work, especially the good paying jobs that this project would provide, we cannot understand why the Biden administration would turn down private investment in critical infrastructure.


You must be logged in to post a comment.