The Keystone XL pipeline—an approximately $7-billion project that complements the original Keystone Pipeline and nearly doubles the size and capacity of the system with an extension to the Gulf Coast—has been in the planning stages since 2008. This additional energy source from our North American Free Trade Agreement
neighbor should be built. One of the key objectives to securing the nation's long-term economic security is the need to expand our access to safe, secure and sustainable sources of energy. The security of the U.S. and other leading economies in the world will remain threatened as long as we continue to derive a significant portion of our energy needs from hostile governments in unstable regions.
As the CEO of an engineering firm that routinely provides technical, environmental and economic solutions to fuel and power suppliers, I believe this is a critical time for our country to increase its energy security and reliability through creative and balanced solutions.
For engineering professionals on the front lines, building the Keystone XL pipeline, which will link new sources of oil in Canada to refineries in the Midwest and Texas, is a no-brainer and an essential step to achieving a more stable energy supply. Here in the U.S., we continue to import nearly one-fifth of our oil from the Persian Gulf. Furthermore, instability in key oil-producing countries causes volatility in oil markets and drives up gasoline and petroleum prices.
Thankfully, Canada remains the largest supplier of imported oil and natural gas to the U.S. According to a report for the U.S. Dept. of Energy, U.S. refining and importing of Canadian crude will more than double in the next two decades. At a time of unrest and uncertainty in other energy- producing countries around the world, the vast energy reserves of our longtime North American neighbor are more important to the future of U.S. energy security than ever before.
The Keystone XL pipeline will help to address our long-term energy needs and also create significant job growth at a time when the nation needs it most. The project's construction phase alone will require 13,000 direct construction and manufacturing hires; indirect new jobs could total 118,000.
Furthermore, it is estimated that private-sector investment of more than $20 billion in the U.S. economy would result, along with more than $585 million in new taxes for states and local governments along the pipeline route. All of these economic effects will trigger new infrastructure development opportunities for cities and counties and result in new engineering jobs.
Further, a U.S. Dept. of State-sponsored environmental impact statement on the Keystone XL pipeline found that the heavy-crude-oil industry has made significant strides in monitoring and managing air quality, land impact and water quality in oil-sands development. In addition to the heavy-crude-oil industry improving its overall environmental performance, "oil-sands mining projects have reduced greenhouse-gas emissions' intensity by an average of 39% between 1990 and 2008," says the report. The industry is working toward further reductions.Regarding the controversial issue of greenhouse-gas emissions generated by the transport or mining of crude oil to be transported by the Keystone XL pipeline, it's important to note that Canada's oil- sands resources will be developed whether or not the pipeline is built. Canada has strong environmental oversight of its energy industry, unlike some other countries from which we currently purchase oil. Of course, the transport of oil from the Middle East and similar far-off production centers to refineries on the Gulf Coast creates its own emissions of greenhouse gases.