Hoeven: The Facts About Keystone XL Pipeline

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today called on President Obama to work with Congress to approve the full Keystone XL pipeline project and offered some facts about the president’s speech in Cushing, Okla. 

President Obama said: Under my Administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years…. So anyone who says that we’re somehow suppressing domestic oil production isn’t paying attention.  

In fact, America is producing more oil today, but on private-lands in places like North Dakota. Production on public lands nationally, where the Administration’s policies control, is actually down.  

President Obama said: And anyone who says that just drilling more will bring gas prices down just isn’t playing it straight. We are drilling more. We are producing more. 

As part of the permitting process, in a June 22, 2011 report the U.S. Department of Energy under Secretary Steven Chu indicated that the Keystone XL pipeline would bring gas prices down in the Midwest, the Gulf Coast and the East Coast. In fact, gasoline prices on the president’s watch have more than doubled, to a national average of $3.88 per gallon. Increased supply will bring the price down, but the southern leg of the Keystone Pipeline will not carry one additional drop of oil to the United States. After three and a half years of review the president continues to block the portion of the Keystone XL project that would in fact increase supply and instead highlights the southern leg, the one part that doesn’t require presidential approval.  

President Obama said: In fact, the problem in a place like Cushing is that we’re actually producing so much oil in places like North Dakota and Colorado that we don’t have enough pipeline capacity to transport it all where it needs to go. 

That is the problem, and building just a third of the project won’t solve it at all. The Keystone XL pipeline will transport 100,000 barrels a day of oil from North Dakota and Montana’s Bakken fields. In North Dakota, the problem is lack of pipeline capacity to get our product to market. As a result, we have heavy truck traffic and excessive wear and tear on our roads, and the volume of trucks is creating traffic safety problems. The Keystone XL pipeline would take up to 500 trucks a day off our roads, carry oil more safely, and make our roads safer for the traveling public.

President Obama said: Now, you may have heard something about the Keystone Pipeline. It’s gotten a bit of attention over the last few months. And that’s because the original route for part of the pipeline was planned through an area of Nebraska that supplies drinking water for nearly 2 million Americans and irrigation for a good portion of America’s cropland. Nebraskans of all political stripes raised concerns about that.

So to be extra careful that the construction of the pipeline in an area like that wouldn’t put the health and safety of the American people at risk, our experts said that they needed a certain amount of time to review the project. Unfortunately, Congress decided to set their own timeline based on their own politics, and made it impossible for us to make an informed decision.

The Keystone XL pipeline has been under review for three and a half years. The only section in contention was the route through Nebraska and the legislation that I and my colleagues are sponsoring addresses their concern. It provides Nebraska with all the time it needs to review and reroute the portion of the pipeline that passes through their state. Our bill simply allows the rest of the project to proceed while Nebraska officials work with federal officials to determine an acceptable route. Further, the Department of State indicated last July that they had all of the information they needed to make a final determination on the project by the end of 2011.

President Obama said: As I’ve been saying for the last few weeks, we use more than 20% of the world’s oil, but we only have 2% of the world’s proven oil reserves. We could drill every square inch of this country – we can get every drop of that 2 percent – but we’d still have to buy enough from the rest of the world to meet our needs.

The 2 percent of proven U.S. oil reserves that the president refers to doesn’t include undiscovered resources. If shale gas resources, like those in North Dakota are included, the United States has the most technically recoverable oil and natural gas resources in the world. Further The Canadian oil sands are estimated to be the third largest oil reserve in the world, and Canada is one of our closest allies and friend. Click here for the Washington Post’s analysis of the president’s claim.

President Obama said: The price of oil will still be set by the global market. And that means every time tensions rise in the Middle East, so will gas prices at home.

The reality is we can and must reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern oil. The Keystone XL pipeline will increase our supply of North American oil to 75 percent, reducing our reliance on the Middle East and other volatile regions of the world.

By working toward North American energy independence we take some of the “risk premium” and instability out of the world oil market, which is highly sensitive to the situation in countries like Iran and Venezuela. The less oil we import from those places, and the more we produce domestically and from places like Canada, will make our nation more secure, both in terms of energy and national security. That is something President Obama and Congress need to do together for the American people.

We need to develop all of our energy resources, both traditional and renewable, with good environmental stewardship, and President Obama should start by working with us on the Keystone XL pipeline project.