“It hasn’t been that long ago we had a train derailment that was carrying [heavy Canadian oil] through West Virginia and had a horrible explosion, so I know it’s much more dangerous to move it by rail or by road.” [ – Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), January 21, 2021]
“From a safety perspective, we should be encouraging the transport of energy via our vast network of pipelines and facilitate the responsible expansion of that network.” (Sen. Manchin, February 9, 2021)
Joe Biden’s executive order to deny an international permit to complete the well-along northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline has brought climate-related economic destruction to a new high. Noted one report on the project’s hitherto progress:
There are now more than 90 miles of Keystone XL pipe in the ground, a string of temporary work camps under construction, and roughly 48,000 tons of pipe sitting in yards all along the route. There is also a less material but still valuable asset: a chain of perpetual land easements, laboriously assembled by TC Energy lawyers, stretching nearly the entire length of the route.
Several hundred more miles of pipe to safely deliver up to 830,000 barrels/day of heavy crude oil from the Alberta Province in Canada to Gulf Coast refineries represents a miniscule addition to the nation’s 2.6 million miles of existing transmission infrastructure for oil and gas. The southern part of the system, completed in 2014, awaits its sister leg.
Enter Joe Manchin, Democrat Senator from West Virginia, who has supported Keystone XL from the start and understands the primary role of fossil fuels in modern life. On February 4, Manchin stated:
My position on the oil and gas industry has not changed. I have always been and will always be an outspoken advocate for an all-of-the-above energy policy that includes fracking and responsible energy infrastructure development, like the Keystone XL pipeline. Last week, I voted in favor of multiple nonbinding amendments that expressed opposition to a ban on fracking and support for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Hardly a deviation, the West Virginia Senator listed these KXL decision-points on his website:
- Introduced the original Keystone XL pipeline bill in 2012.
- Voted in 2014 and 2015 in support of the Keystone XL.
- Supported Trump’s executive order to resume construction on the pipeline in 2017, where he stated:
What this country needs is more jobs, and that is why I have always been a proponent of the Keystone XL Pipeline and was an original cosponsor of legislation approving the Keystone XL Pipeline project. As I’ve said before, we must address the critical issues of moving America toward energy independence, while continuing to foster job growth and economic prosperity. Multiple studies have shown that the Keystone XL pipeline is a job creator and would limit our dependence on foreign oil and transported oil in the most environmentally-friendly way possible. The pipeline will help us reach these goals as we partner with one of our strongest allies, Canada. With a majority of Americans in support of the Keystone XL pipeline’s construction, I’m glad we are finally moving forward with this important project.
Upon Biden’s executive order stopping work on the project, Senator Manchin added:
It hasn’t been that long ago we had a train derailment that was carrying that crude in through West Virginia and had a horrible explosion, so I know it’s much more dangerous to move it by rail or by road. That product is not stopping. That oil, heavy crude coming from Canada, will still come to our refineries and it will come either by truck or by rail, and it’s much safer by pipe.
Letter to President Biden
Most recently, Manchin has stood up for workers and consumers against Biden’s eco-puppeteers. Yesterday, the chair of Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee wrote a letter to President Biden urging a reversal on Keystone XL.
“I am writing today to express my support of responsible energy infrastructure development, including of oil and gas pipelines,” the letter begins. These arguments follow (quoted verbatim from the letter in bullet form):
- “Pipelines continue to be the safest mode to transport our oil and natural gas resources, and they support thousands of high-paying, American union jobs.”
- “In the absence of access to pipelines, crude oil will continue to find its way to market through increased reliance on other modes of transport, like truck and rail, which have a higher number of reported releases of crude oil per ton-mile than pipelines.”
- “Recent analysis by the Department of Transportation shows that incidents occurred approximately once every 50 million gallons of crude oil shipped by rail and once every 55 million gallons shipped by truck, compared to once every 720 million gallons shipped by pipeline.”
- “… the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration noted that pipelines have a 99.999% safety record.
- “From a safety perspective, we should be encouraging the transport of energy via our vast network of pipelines and facilitate the responsible expansion of that network.”
- “Ongoing development of responsible energy infrastructure supports you ‘Build Back Better’ priorities by keeping America working while strengthening North American economic and energy security”
- “It is of the utmost importance that the United States maintain that energy security through strategic relationships with our allies rather than increasing reliance on OPEC nation as and Russia.”
- “Pipeline infrastrucdtur5e projects already undergo a rigorous permitting process that allows experts to weigh-in on the security, safety, and environmental impacts of the project.
- “I encourage you to let these process proceed as intended and to not let politics drive the decisions on the development and operation of our nation’s vital energy infrastructure.”
Keystone XL is not dead, just politically paused. The northern leg should continue to be built on both sides right up to the international border. And this time, the good guys and gals should push to connect the laterals in the last mile. That’s the fossil fuel future that Canada, the United States, and the world deserves.
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February 10, 2021 at 01:14AM